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  1. Have you not heard of the concept of creative destruction? Urban riots are an economic boon for many sectors (rebuidling/refitting/restocking of looted shops/ cctv system manufacturers and installers/ police and firefighters overtime / insurance claim processors / journalists/ sociology academics ...etc.....etc....).
  2. Very plausible scenario. I think I'll stay on my fixed rate contract. Who knows, I may be able to make money in a few years selling water to my unfortunate metered neighbours (or some rich Qataris ). Buy to leak anyone?
  3. Sarcasm detector now fixed Blinding rage to blame..... I agree with you that a lot of non-payers can probably afford to pay their bills but chose not to. In a way, this is a perfect exemple of the perverse effect you get when you give free rein to large private monopolies managed by people on huge salaries and bonuses. Some people will see them as robbers and act likewise. Just like people who see nothing wrong with shoplifting from Tesco but who would not do the same to a local independent shop.
  4. It's not my idea. It is just a fact that must explain why water companies have managed to persuade Ofwat to accept these extortionate increases. The percentage of bills in arrears is 19% (well, was in 2007 ....), not 5-10%. I think unpaid water bills are a good barometer of the UK personal debt crisis. My ideas, for what they are worth because they are rather old-fashioned, are that natural monopolies and essential services should be publicly owned ..... so there !
  5. One big issue for water companies is unpaid bills as they are are no longer able to cut off supply. According to industry figures quoted by Arla (see below), 19% of water bills are in arrears. There are about 20 million residential households in the UK. So that's 3.8 million water bills in arrears. Assuming an average of £200 (about two quarters worth of water), total debt must be about £760 million (I know from looking into this issue about 3 years ago that unpaid water bills totalled then about £500 miliion). That's a lot of money. Definitively worth spending on lobbying Tory MP's to amend the 1999 Water Act to reinstate the right to disconnect supply ..... Monday, November 07, 2011 The Water Industry Act 1999 banned water suppliers from diconnecting water supplies from consumers, even if they were failing to pay their bills. This has led to a growing problem of unpaid water bills that far outstrips the outstanding debts owed for other types of utility. According to industry figures, in 2007 19% of domestic water customers were in arrears with their water bill as compared to 5% of electricity customers and 3.7% of gas customers. It is believed that tenants represent a significant number of these overdue bills and the water companies complain that the lack of information about their future whereabouts makes it is very difficult to pursue those debts. Source: http://www.arla.co.uk/news/2011/11/Landlord-Liability-for-Water-Bills-44820/
  6. This isn't going to help ........... http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-humber-16696473 I still remember the panic caused by the refinery lock-out protests in 2000. Many people commented then that the problem was made worse by the relative small number of petrol stations as many had closed down in previous years due to competition from supermarkets. Now, has this problem got worse since? i think I'll fill up at lunchtime ........
  7. Banks like RBS which is 84% state-owned ......
  8. The explanation of this abberation can be summarised into two letters - QE. There is also the fact that large financial institutions must by law hold a certain percentage of triple A rated long-term bonds so that provides a near captive market. Don't forget, there is still plenty of saved money that needs investing in fixed income products (from thrifty German and Japanese amongst others ....).
  9. Nick Clegg sold his house in Sheffield after the 2010 election (and now rents a flat .....). I guess in his case, the near certainty of losing his seat in 2015 once he reneged on his pledge to abolish student fees must have been the main reason to bail out. Cameron must be doing pretty well though - he is renting his mortgage-free Notting Hill home whilst getting free boarding in Downing Street and receiving near-maximum housing allowance to cover the the cost of his heavily remortgaged Oxfordshire constituency pad. Tony Blair is in a league of his own though ...... (I read last year that he and Cherie had bought homes in London for their three grown-up kids - a career in politics can definitively be rewarding in more ways than one !).
  10. Some interesting facts and figures (from a survey on debt and deleveraging just published by the McKinsey Global Institute - see link below) on the great 'pretend and extend' policy scam, which, in addition to shafting savers with negative interest rates, is being pursued to 'save' the housing market. Extract from page 5: UK household debt, in absolute terms, has increased slightly since 2008. Unlike in the United States, where defaults and foreclosures account for the majority of household debt reduction, UK banks have been active in granting forbearance to troubled borrowers, and this may have prevented or deferred many foreclosures. This may obscure the extent of the mortgage debt problem. The Bank of England estimates that up to 12 percent of home loans are in a forbearance process. Another 2 percent are delinquent. Overall, this may mean that the UK has a similar level of mortgages in some degree of difficulty as in the United States. Moreover, around two-thirds of UK mortgages have floating interest rates, which may create distress if interest rates rise—particularly since UK household debt service payments are already one-third higher than in the United States. Source: http://www.mckinsey.com/Insights/MGI/Research/Financial_Markets/Uneven_progress_on_the_path_to_growth Nothing new I know but still a useful reminder. What I would really love to see is the state of the Northern Rock mortgages that are not included in the sale to Virgin Money.
  11. Accidental perhaps but still designed. To make a housing analogy to my cunning plan (see previous post), it's like the Govt bailing out insolvent BTL'ers whilst at the same time giving rental vouchers to tenants. Nobody loses out and the 'system' is kept in place. Brilliant or what? Don't worry about mass printing, it's the only option left and nobody seriously expects a return of hyperinflation (not for a while anyway ....)
  12. Well about time I say ! Here is my cunnning plan. The ECB buys up to 50% of the Greek and Portuguese sovereign debt (and some Irish and Spanish), re-schedules in a series of complex deals to gain time and ensure that structural reforms are implemented, until most of the outstanding debt is simply written off. Obviously, this will become public at which point taxpayers of the solvent Eurozone members receive 'consumption' vouchers whose total value will equate the amount of debt written off. These vouchers will not be redeemable for cash and will have a short validity so as to provide an instant economic 'boom'. The trick will be to ensure that the 'salvaged' countries make the most of this mass spending (Greek Retsina all round !!) What could possibly go wrong? German taxpayers would love it .....
  13. Do you think our friends the Wilsons could be interested? Ashford is their patch after all ......
  14. Granted I have sexed up the thread title but the statistics based on the 24.000 strong sample are sound - 23% of those earning over £50K pa, in that sample, are in NE as opposed to an average of 10% for lower earning groups in that same 24.000 strong sample. I rest my case.
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