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  1. Flat taxes and benefits. I would abolish all of these:- personal allowance lower rate bands higher rate bands additional rate bands national insurance income support job seekers allowance employment support allowance housing benefit council tax support working tax credit child tax credit universal credits any other kind of tax credits benefit cap savings rules and replace them at zero net cost with:- 1) a single flat rate benefit payable to every adult. 2) a single flat rate income tax payable from your very first pound earned to your last. Today, someone earning £100k pays 40% tax, but not £40k. The total tax bill is about £29,822. Today, someone on benefits gets £71.70pw = £3,728 pa. Average housing benefit (2011) is £97.15 pw = £5,052 pa. Total average benefit (not including all listed above) = £8,780 pa. Total 'benefit' of personal allowance and lower rate band = £40k - £29,822 = £10,178 pa. So if everyone 'signed on' once a year with proper passport-style identity checks to get their flat rate benefit of around £9k pa they could then find their own housing and pay their own council tax without any further nanny-ing by the state. Above anything else it's FAIR. Any employer would deduct a flat 40% of pay, making life much simpler for them. Any illegal immigrants taking jobs would be paying tax (not very serious, but seems topical). People previously on benefits would be able to work without losing any benefits. Benefit fraud of this kind would be eliminated completely. As a consequence, about 80% of benefit staff would no longer be needed, providing a massive saving. HMRC staff would be able to concentrate on catching the big fish instead of chasing minnows. Minimum wage would no longer be necessary, as minimum standards are already ensured. People previously on benefits living in some of the most expensive real estate in the world would have to move. People previously on benefits living in some of the cheapest real estate would have spare cash to spend in the community, thereby providing a welcome boost to that local economy. Property prices would be subject to a 'leveling' effect. The biggest positive effect I anticipate is that those people previously on the margin between benefits and meaningful employment would no longer have the threat of benefit reductions to dissuade them from taking jobs that might be temporary, unreliable or low paid. Given the prospect of immediate reward without risk of losing benefits, many people would be drawn into work, which is better for them and better for UK plc as a whole. Subsequent governments (after I have relinquished my benevolent dictator status!) would have 2 simple, understandable and visibly fair levers to manipulate instead of a gazillion different regulations. Lastly, every adult EU citizen (that's you, me and the Romanians) would have to have lived in the UK for a set time to qualify (could be 5 years, could be 18).
  2. BTL not make much sense??????? I've been doing it for 25 years and if there's one thing I've learned, there is NEVER a wrong time to buy, only a wrong time to sell. Example: Bought first property (£80k) immediately prior to the 'great crash' of 1989 and it very quickly crashed to about £55k (30%!). My income stayed the same, I could still afford the mortgage and sure enough it was sold a few years later for £150k. If I had to sell at the wrong time it could have been a disaster. The 2nd one was bought 2 years after the first, the next 18 months after that. At any particular time, the sums show you'll be making almost nothing from a new BTL, but add time to the equation and you're laughing.
  3. Ever thought about buying a property and renting it out?
  4. That's why we try to listen to the 'survivors' like Charlie Munger to see just how they survived while others fell along the wayside. In 1989 with a friend I bought (50% share each) my first house for £81k right at the peak immediately prior to the 'great crash'. A few months later interest rates were 15% and the price had crashed by £30k. My take-home pay was £525/mth and my HALF of the mortgage was £515/mth. This seems to be the exact situation most people here are cr4pping themselves about. I was doomed, right? WRONG! The spare rooms were being rented out and it was sold a few years later for £150k. We're still in partnership 25 years later and we now have over 20 properties in London, selling off now as tax-efficiently as possible. Yes I'm a millionaire, paying my taxes, and still working full-time in the public sector serving the great British public. I am intelligent, and did work extremely hard for the first few years. By age 40 I had paid off the mortgage on my own house (paid £150k, now worth about £400k) and bought a new Mercedes sports car for cash. Call me a troll, but I really don't know what everyone here is getting their knickers in a twist about. The law of supply and demand has held true since before money was even invented, and isn't going to go wrong now. Too many people and not enough houses = long-term house price rises. If you're THAT worried about losing money on a house, then keep your cash in the bank and live in a tent at the side of the road. If you need somewhere to live and are reasonably sure you won't need to move in the next 5 years, buy a house. If you need a good long-term investment, buy a house. If you have too many houses and can't be bothered any more, buy shares.
  5. Year 2000: FTSE 6,500 Mining index 6,000 Year 2014 FTSE 6,500 Mining index 16,000 Mining has been fantastic, and SOME of them look very good value at the moment Remember - do your own research!
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