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Everything posted by kjw

  1. George Osborne, the Chancellor, says he wants young families to have the same chance as he did to get on the housing ladder Scrapping the government's flagship help-to-buy scheme would be an "outrageous act of intergenerational theft", George Osborne has suggested. Mr Osborne said that he wanted people with "decent jobs and decent incomes" to have the same chance as his generation to own a home. He admitted that the housing market has the potential to do "real damage" to the economy if it overheats but added that there is no evidence it is doing so. He told LBC Radio: "I am going to say to people I am lucky enough to own my own home, you are not going to be able to buy your own home. That is not the politician I am. "I want to give people the same chance to get on the housing ladder. You can promise to people in decent jobs with decent incomes that we can find them a place on the housing ladder. "The alternative is for this generation, my generation, to literally pull up the ladder and I think that would be outrageous frankly, that would be an act of intergenerational theft, and I'm not prepared to be part of it. "Help to Buy is not having an impact on house prices. The Bank of England have looked at this and don't identify it as a problem. But we have to be very vigilant about the housing market, particularly in London. The housing market has the potential to do real damage." http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/georgeosborne/10962931/Scrapping-help-to-buy-would-be-an-act-of-intergenerational-theft.html
  2. "I have learned through the years a good deal about wages. I believe in the first place that, all other considerations aside, our own sales depend in a measure upon the wages we pay. If we can distribute high wages, then that money is going to be spent and it will serve to make storekeepers and distributors and manufacturers and workers in other lines more prosperous and their prosperity will be reflected in our sales." ~ HENRY FORD
  3. THE Shadow Chancellor suggested that places with lower housing costs could face a lower welfare cap than the current £25,000 a year per household SCOTS could get welfare benefits at lower rates than people in wealthy parts of England under plans being worked on by Labour. Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls yesterday raised the idea of a regional cap on welfare, opening the door to variations in a range of social security benefits. In a major speech outlining where Labour might make savings, Balls said his party would cut £200 winter fuel payments to wealthy pensioners. But he also revealed that he was considering regional variations on the Coalition Government’s controversial welfare cap. Balls said the welfare cap of £25,000 a year per household should be higher in London but could be lower in parts of the UK where housing is cheaper. Balls said Labour wanted a system that “takes account of housing costs in different parts of the country”. He added that an independent body, like the Low Pay Commission, would advise on whether the cap should be higher in high-cost housing areas like London, but potentially lower in other parts of the country. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/labour-unveil-plan-regional-cap-1930107#.U7wJHA4kUq8.twitter
  4. he past few years have been desperately difficult for all those who rely on and provide public services in our communities. Whether it is help for young children in a Sure Start centre, or care for the elderly in their homes, our services have faced both unprecedented cuts and ever growing demand. It is the people at the frontline who know better than anyone back in Whitehall how, through local reform and innovation, they could deliver better services. Today I am launching a report by Labour's local government innovation taskforce, which charts a new course away from the old top-down command model and towards an era of people-powered public services. This will mean better accountability to the communities they serve, encouragement to cooperate and integrate with others, and a new emphasis on saving money by preventing problems rather than reacting to them. [More at link] http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/06/future-is-local-labour-reverse-centralisation-ed-miliband
  5. The Liberal Democrats has pledged to enshrine the state pension 'triple lock' in law if it is to be part of a future coalition government, giving retirees a guaranteed annual rise of at least 2.5 per cent. Both the Conservatives and Labour have said they will keep the triple lock after the next election, meaning state pension payouts will increase by the highest of inflation, average earnings or 2.5 per cent. But pensions minister Steve Webb has said his party would put pensions are the heart of any future coalitions, and has vowed not just to keep the triple lock, but to write it into law. **Libdems pledge**... Hmm, now where have we heard that before http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/pensions/article-2673985/Lib-Dems-pledge-make-state-pension-triple-lock-permanent.html
  6. That should never have happened, I mean, a bank keeps account holders records for 5-6 years after they have CLOSED an account. Obviously it was down to sheer incompetence of the bank concerned [and its staff] but I do know that generally reactivating a dormant account is a very simple procedure, its one I have carried out personally on numerous occasions.
  7. I don't know about safety deposit boxes but I do know the bank does not delete records at all, they just put a flag on your account to say it's dormant. Then if you want to reactivate, you just pop into branch with photo ID and that's it [i am currently working for a bank so I do know what I'm talking about for once ]
  8. You don't lose anything if an account goes into dormancy. It just means the bank doesn't send you any statements and all you have to do to re-activate is go into branch with ID. Non-story.
  9. Labour is proposing to give more power and money to English cities outside London and the regions around them. Under its plans, councils would get to control how they spend extra income generated from business rates. In a speech in Leeds, Labour leader Ed Miliband will say councils can work together to be "economic powerhouses" leading investment in infrastructure, skills and economic regeneration. Labour could devolve £30bn in funding for regional enterprise, he will add. [more at link] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-28098586
  10. On the govt workfare scheme: "Must be terrible [working in Poundland] when everything in the shop is worth a pound... except you" Funny.. but also very sad... since like most good observational humour, it's actually true..
  11. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/rabbithutch-britain-growing-health-concerns-as-uk-sets-record-for-smallest-properties-in-europe-9544450.html Britain is in the grip of an invisible housing squeeze with millions of people living in homes that are too small for them, according to new research which reveals that more than half of all dwellings are failing to meet minimum modern standards on size. The poorest households are being hit hardest, with estimates suggesting that four-fifths of those affected by the Coalition’s “bedroom tax” are already forced to contend with a shortage of space, the Cambridge University study found. The findings will put pressure on the Government, which announced it was to develop a national space standard – although this will only be enforced where it does not impinge on development. Critics argue that the UK already has the smallest properties in Europe following the end of national guidelines in 1980. But soaring land and property prices and a shortage of new homes are fuelling overcrowding, which causes health problems including depression, insomnia and asthma.
  12. http://www.pieria.co.uk/articles/the_british_obsession_with_property The property-owning revolution of the last fifty years was founded on the concept of individual, rather than shared, ownership: there have been experiments with various forms of shared ownership, but they remain limited and at time exploitative. The vast majority of people wish to own their houses outright. They wish, in short, to own and control an asset. The owners of assets understandably wish to ensure that the assets yield a positive return: this is as true of property as any other kind of asset. And when housing is seen first and foremost as an individual asset, rather than a basic need common to all, the ownership of housing becomes a zero-sum game. Those who own houses want to ensure a positive yield, but they can only do so at the expense of those who do not own houses. And yet....with all this emphasis on ownership, we forget about the primary purpose of a house. It is not to provide a high-yielding safe asset for people with wealth to spare. It is not to show to the world how rich you are. It is not even to provide you with a link to your community. It is, first and foremost, to provide shelter. And the fact that 60% of the UK population like the value of their houses to rise means that there are a growing minority whose basic need for shelter is not adequately being met. Reducing housing benefit payments whilst house prices are rising prices people out of rented accommodation, because rentals tend to reflect house prices. The bedroom tax forces people into arrears because of a shortage of smaller properties for them to move into, and because of inconsistent and at times illegal enforcement of the new rules. Homeless people are left with nowhere to go, and overcrowding is becoming more common. Much is made of the shortage of housing supply. But this cannot be relieved while home owners expect rising prices and the private sector is relied upon almost exclusively to relieve supply pressures. Builders will not build into a falling market: home owners will obstruct developments they believe will reduce their house values. The two combine to prevent us building the houses we need. If we wish to break this doom loop, we need a resurgence of social housing – both to rent and to buy. We need a return of long-term protected tenancies. We need alternative savings vehicles to break the dependence on property. We need to find other ways of enabling people to feel in control of their finances, their environment and their lives, both now and in the future. Beyond that, we need to re-think what we mean by “ownership”. Perhaps we could look at limiting individual ownership to a lifetime, just as hereditary peerages have given way to life peerages, so that property cannot be bequeathed. Perhaps we need to reinvent he concept of “family” or “clan” property, enabling whole communities to own and control their own land and property down the generations. Though I am not blind to the problems with this – exclusion on grounds of race and class, for example. There are no doubt better ideas. But of one thing I am certain. The present arrangements for ownership and control of housing foster inequality, injustice and social exclusion. As we move from a competitive society to a collaborative and sharing society, so our attitude to property ownership needs to change. We need to rediscover and recreate the “commons”.
  13. http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/home-truths-what-george-osborne-cant-say-about-house-prices-9537604.html
  14. I think it’s in volume 1 of Capital that Marx says that, in every crisis, there comes a point where the capitalists must attempt to drive the wages below the labourers cost of reproducing their labour-power– hence the growth of the working poor in the US [and other advanced countries], temporary jobs, “mini-jobs” etc....
  15. "The Bill is designed to fulfil a number of functions, so many in fact it’s easy to only concentrate on that hot potato, fracking, and possibly also the HS2 railway line - personally I am opposed to both, but the Bill enables far more than that." "What the Bill proposes is that the Secretary of State can hand over any amount of public land to the arms-length, non-departmental Government body, the Homes & Communities Agency. The HCA can then dispose of it to developers. There will be no need to go through local authority planning processes – the Sec of State can give the green light without any local politicians or planners’ involvement, just by consulting a panel of two people." http://owenadamssubjectobject.wordpress.com/2014/06/12/mayday-mayday-england-wales-land-grab-of-land-that-belongs-to-everyone-spread-the-word-sound-the-alarm-house-of-lords-debate-wednesday-june-18/ Petition link here: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/infrastructure-bill-allows-ministers-to-sell-off-public-land
  16. US needs gladiators fighting to the death on TV every Sunday PM, no off season! No squeamish citizens allowed
  17. The United States by the way has been continually fighting wars these last 14 years... and actually fighting or preparing for wars continually since the Truman Presidency.... Oh and Tyler Cowen is a knob
  18. Rising house prices do not always have the same cause. The US house price boom was caused by an over-consumption boom funded initially by excessive unsecured consumer lending which was then routinely refinanced by equally excessive secondary mortgage lending. Clearly, the lesson from the US consumer boom and ensuing housing bust is that wealth effects cannot be allowed to become borrowing opportunities. But there is zero evidence that anything similar is going on in the UK now. Admittedlly, London house prices do look inflated: but the London boom is mainly driven by rich people putting their money into cash purchases of prime real estate (and overseas buyers borrowing from overseas banks to buy prime London real estate), not by cash-strapped households over-mortgaging themselves to pay off credit card debts. There may in due course be a correction in London house prices, in which case people who foolishly over-mortgaged themselves in order to buy into the boom will get caught - though mortgage lending standards are so tight at the moment that there won't be very many of those, and they are hardly the poorest in society anyway. And there would be an impact on Government finances because of the Help to Buy guarantee. So there may be a case for macro-prudential activity to limit cash purchases, and at the very least the government subsidy for purchases of overvalued property should be ended. But would a London housing market correction be a disaster on the scale of 2007-8? I think not. We do not have a consumer consumption boom any more. We aren't going to have a consumer consumption driven housing crash, either. This isn't nuts (yet), and if there is going to be a crash, it's a long time off. http://www.pieria.co.uk/articles/consumption_booms_and_housing_busts
  19. Frances Coppola explains the rationale behind NIR's... and why it won't work... http://www.forbes.com/sites/francescoppola/2014/06/04/why-negative-rates-wont-work-in-the-eurozone/
  20. The point is that building bank reserves or penalising them for holding reserves will not increase the bank’s capacity to lend.... loans create deposits which generate reserves.... something TPTB don't seem to understand [or choose to ignore]
  21. The reason they are doing it lies in the hope that by charging banks for saving their money [rather than paying them] it will encourage them to increase their lending to individuals and businesses, boosting the economy... it also hopes that it might encourage them to divert the money into other assets, such as government bonds/corporate bonds.... which in turn would bring down bond yields and act as a stimulant.... I don't think it'll work, fiddling with rates that are already rock-bottom seems a waste of time really...
  22. Yes, whilst it's never a bad idea to blame Fatcha... on this occasion, I think Richard Nixon should shoulder the lion's share..
  23. Sorry, me again Councils talk more about 'affordable' developments (80% of market rent) than council rents. At the moment councils farm the building out to developers on a part private/ part council basis when they do build at all. Guess which is the largest part? They say they have no choice because it can't be funded any other way. Developers know that local residents rarely succeed in challenging planning applications. And if they think they might then they employ people to go round signing petitions in favour of the development. This low cost action usually gathers them many times more votes in favour than there are against. In London the foul and pestilent Johnson overrules any refusals by local authorities to restrict development through use of planning regs. And the latest wizard wheeze is to attract a primary free school to your plans. There's a chronic shortage of primary school places in certain areas so you bang in your unsatisfactory planning application, it gets refused by the LA, you attach an equally unsatisfactory 'primary school' to your plan. Johnson approves it without consultation on the grounds that the schools are fulfilling a need. I know I'm being London centric, but that's part of the point. This artificial scarcity - which gets laid at the door of all but the right reasons - works absolutely to the advantage of the rich and powerful. Why the f*** should they care if the low paid are adequately housed?
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