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Everything posted by VacantPossession

  1. One person that has never apologised is the outgoing director of the London School of Economics HOWARD DAVIES who was head of the FSA during the salient period of banking profligacy and sat there supine and inactive while the city of London brought down the economy and became the most self-rewarded shower of spivs the world has ever seen. Please don't forget his name: HOWARD DAVIES Mr Davis has had a "glittering" career despite his complete failure as a regulator, and his tenure at the self-puffing, arrogant institution of the LSE many of whose staff and past graduates were intimately involved in the roulette culture of banking, and almost none of whom, when pursuing extremely well paid jobs as "economists" and media pundits saw the crash coming, while less "qualified" people such as young barrow boys at vegetable markets (and many on this forum) could see with total clarity that a crash was inevitable. Let me remind you again: HOWARD DAVIES ....was forced to resign from the self-regarding, narcissistic and now deservedly discredited institution that is the LSE for accepting a large donation from one of Gaddafi's sons at a time when he was aware of the brutal regime in Libya. The LSE continues to dig its own hole by the recruitment of its new Director, Judith Rees, also an executive of the LSE-attached Grantham Institute, an organisation bluffing and profiting its way through psuedo "green" and "carbon" issues on the back of the equally discredited "data" from the Climategate-soiled University of East Anglia. But I digress. Never forget the name: Howard Davies, former head of the FSA 1997-2003, who sat on his hands while the entire banking system was brought to its knees and who presided over a regime that created unprecedented non-regulation of banks and the city. As far as I am aware Mr Davies has never apologised for this.
  2. Not only are the reforms going to be late (if they get implemented at all) but already banker types are whinging about them with the usual threats that they'll all go abroad to pursue their inflated salaries (BBC Newsnight last night). Is there no end to the arrogance of these spivs and spongers? These constant threats that "bankers will simply move to less regulated states" is absolute bilge. All that's happening is a proposed tiny, tiny sum being prevented from being shifted around to partially and very modestly protect deposit to investment ratios. Even if it gets implemented it's a drop in the ocean. The most affected bank appears to be Barclays, and that's because they already are badly exposed to risk because of the way they raise cash. See John Snow's interview with the Treasury Secretary (Channel 4 news) where repeated questions about his past in promoting less regulation and fewer controls were unanswered and he completely denied that HE personally was wrong in the past. Quite reasonably both Paxman and Snow asked him what evidence was there that he, and his government, would not screw things up yet again and the answer was not forthcoming. It is not just the bankers that need a good dose of reality, it is the regulators, the ministers on whose watch the banks continue to act like a law unto themselves, and the journalists who continually harp on about UK's need to be "competitive" that need a sound lesson in how they all contributed to the meltdown. It's similar to the Mafia in the 1930s claiming that unless they were allowed to continue robbing, extorting and murdering everyone with machine guns, the US economy would somehow suffer. All the regulations seek to do is protect depositors from the worst ravages of proflgacy and gambling by the city. It's hardly a draconian step and as others point out, there is a good chance that by 2019 the regs will be so watered down they will barely make any difference in the long run.
  3. I don't know where the OP lives exactly but I think it is a myth that rents have risen in real terms, unless perhaps you are living in areas like London, Edinburgh and exceptional examples elsewhere. In most areas there is no doubt that rents have either fallen in real terms or remained static over the last five years. My own rent has diminished yet the space I have is better. Thousands of flats and houses in my, and other, areas have been reduced in the last three months. If I took out a mortgage on current terms, let alone if interest rates were to rise (and they will), my monthly payments would be between one and a half times and double what I would pay in rent.
  4. That's a very fair point, and I entirely sympathise. Tougher negotiation by local authorities might have a spin off resulting in your situaiton being more tolerable. I wish you every good fortune and hope your circumstances improve.
  5. Wading through your poorly expressed English is hard enough, but added to that you apply pseudo-economic precepts to mask a simple point: Property in rural locations is dominated by money, not any other factor, except where an historical rights to tenancy or land exist, but those are now quite rare. Your "jealousy" argument is shallow. That's like saying slum residents in the worst areas of Glasgow have no right to better conditions because they are just jealous. Desiring better housing conditions for all, and specifically a fair share of a decent location is not a jealousy issue, it is an issue of fairness. That is why I made efforts to emphasise that URBAN conditions are even more urgent to face than fair distribution of rural habitats.
  6. I think we broadly agree. I mentioned "national parkland" in order to assuage any opinion that I was enouraging mindless development in these places. I've already expressed that a reasonably distribution of new housing over a wide area is not that damaging. It is the concentration of BAD development that causes resentment. Many existing villages are no more than ghost hamlets that have no real centre, no community and are just placenames for isolated housing which not only stopped expanding years ago but which also has the heart of itself stripped out. Local authorities are paranoid about regeneration, let alone "development" of these locations, as though they are only interested in them being a quaint chocolate box museum.
  7. Interesting to hear the theories, assumptions, views etc expressed, but my original post was empirical evidence about what councils are prepared to pay. It might be that there is a theoretical limit, but where landlords drive a hard bargain and the local authority is compelled to house, I maintain that local authorites capitulate to the landlord's, or agent's demand. I therefore stick to my original point. IN PRACTICE, and generally speaking, local authorities are prepared to spend more on behalf of their social clients than a private tenant would be prepared to pay. Therefore, it is likely that rents are distorted through laziness or unwillingness of local authorities to be aware of, or negotiate properly in the interests of value for the tax payer and this also adversely influence house prices. I might add that there are still an enormous number of very expensive so-called "executive" leases that are negotiated far above normal market rents because corporations are too lazy to negotiate decent leases on behalf of their employees.
  8. Let me declare first that I fully support the concept of housing benefit. Also happy to pay local tax to support genuine need. Now that's out of the way, my local authority, and many others, present little challenge to landlords who exploit the housing benefit regime by suggesting a "market price". Most local authorities capitulate to this with very little questioning, and I have evidence that there are no proper checks as to true market value for rental properties. Example: two years ago I vacated an apartment on which I got the rent down to £750 from £850 due to rents reflecting the buying market. The moment I left and moved somewhere else, the landlord found he could not match even my reduced rent so, after several years refusing benefit clients, he turned tables, offered the flat for £875 and got that sum straightaway from the local authority. I know this because I checked with the new tenants. Since then I know of many similar flats where the same thing happens. Further research suggests that local authorities are so keen to offload their own queues for housing on the private sector that they will do almost anything to save themselves the trouble. The result is that a significant proportion of social housing via private landlords ends up being between twenty and forty percent more expensive than it should be. This in turn gives letting agents the ammunition to claim that rents are "rising". They are actually not rising if the market had proper influence. The fallout from this is that a large number of landlords are now attempting to value their properties on the basis of an entirely rigged rental market on the back of lazy councils who cannot be bothered to properly negotiate. Discuss.
  9. There seem to be perceptions in this thread that bespoiling housing is exclusive to the countryside, yet by far the ugliest, most rank, dismal, awful eyesores are actually in urban areas. In fact the GOOD part of planning regulations are that rural housing is often of very good , or passable quality in terms of aesthetics, while planners have all but given up where urban squalor already exists. We're getting a wierd attitude emerging from some posts above that ALL rural development is bad, so the solution, apparently, is to confine any new development to already ghastly places, with an odd logic that it somehow doesn't matter if existing ugliness is added to. There's also an implication that spreading at least a proportion of development to "greenbelt" land is always bad. I think that is nonsense. As one poster intelligently pointed out, it doesn't really matter exactly where the development is provided it harmonises with the landscape, with the notable exception of land that is obviously inviolable (eg: sussex downs, parts of Cumbria, national parks etc etc). My original point was that this issue is solely one of the highest bidder having the privilege of owning an agreeable place in the country and having established their presence, pouring their energy into preventing anyone else doing the same. This attitude promotes a paradigm of acceptance of urban squalor and ugliness, the compensation for which is an occasional walk or drive through an area that is, if this logic was extended, becomes a rural "museum" one can gawp at before returning to the ugliness one travelled from. This is already creating a hugely divided landscape, from the most appalling ugliness on the one hand, to "pristine" rural locations which are so apparently precious that only the privileged few can live in them. The UK is still quite a big place, and could, if intelligently apportioned, easily contain a reasonable number of houses distributed, even on greenbelt land, without impacting on aesthetic considerations. At the moment we seem to accept that nearly all urban locations are fine because we "expect" they will contain really quite nasty looking buildings. If you expand this notion to include semi industrial building, in fact the worst excesses are places like petrol stations with quite horrible huge plastic signs, advertising hoardings, tired old housing estates, some very close to rural "idylls". It seems all these blots on the landscape are acceptable because they happen to be urban, while the countryside goes to the other extreme. If you are going to be sensitive about rural planning, you need, if anything, to be even more sensitive to urban planning, since it is urban areas that most people have to deal with daily. The Telegraph campaign has NOTHING to do with protecting the countryside and everything to do with those already in possession of a nice place for which they paid typically £400k upwards, and often a lot more than that, to shut out anyone else who has the temerity to ask for a share in the same landscape. The disappointing thing to observe is that many people living in ugly urban landscapes appear quite content with this, as though they know their place. How feudal we still are.
  10. Yep, the Telegraph, the Telegraph and especially the Telegraph. Only to be expected that those already having agreeable lifestyles and well established in rural UK now want to stop anyone else getting in on their act with bogus concern about "concreting over Britain". It's not even that they are Not In My Back Yard -ies, they are better described as creators of a parallel state into which they want to bar entry to everyone else (unless they are popping over for a nice drive in the countryside before returning to their little boxes in dismal towns). The Telegraph campaign is the most obvious indication I have seen at just what a cloud cuckoo land NIMBYs think they are living in. Today I read two magazines about "self build". I thought these rags would be full of advice about getting around draconian planning laws so you could build a modest and tasteful home without over-disturbing the harmony of rural vs urban landscapes. In fact these mags are fall of examples of enormously expensive projects (land: £200,000. House a further £200k-400k) built on mainly existing plots. I would guess most of the owners of these "eco-houses" are Telegraph readers. Hypocracy knows no bounds.
  11. It is true in theory that neither house prices or incomes can rise above real increases in GDP. However you have to look firstly at DISTRIBUTION of wealth and secondly the RATIO of housing spending to disposable income. House prices tend to rise above inflation and GDP because the skewed distribution of wealth enables the higher income earners, and especially those ALREADY owning a house, to inflate the market. This is well illustrated by the fact that the growth in home ownership as a proportion of the total population has levelled off and might be in decline. This should lead to a house price fall much greater than we are experiencing, but the falls are being stubbornly resisted due on the one hand to interest rates being so ridiculously low that mortgage holders who normally would HAVE to sell, are sitting pretty (for the time being) on historically low mortgage commitments, and on the other hand the distribution of wealth is biased ever more in favour of those who are already comparitively well off. The normal factors which should encourage house price drops, ie the withrawal of first time buyers from the market, is being delayed by artificially holding down interest rates. This is damaging long term because it artificially holds up the capital cost of buying a house. Secondly, the ratio of disposable income spent on housing has exponentially risen. In the 1960s, the average proportion of income spent on housing, including rents, was barely 20%. During the last boom this rose to as high as 50% or even more in some regions, especially London. As long as interest rates are held low, no significant correction is possible. But creeping inflation and the rising costs of food, clothing and other goods will inevitably lead to a rise in interest rates. At that point I believe the flood gates will open to huge numbers of repossessions. The craziness of holding interest rates so low for so long has ruined the chance to gradually correct the market. The current level of house prices is as unsustainable as it was in 2005, and only low interest rates are stopping the avalanche of crashes. If interest rates had gradually been raised over the last five years, that avalance could have been better managed. Low interest rates have not stopped a chronic decline in real incomes, higher taxes and unemployment. Those factors will continue until the massive debts have been flushed out of the system. The method by which debts have been addressed is to pour huge amounts of tax payer's cash down the WRONG FUNNEL. The cash has been poured into a leaking sieve, and the leaks continue to line the pockets of those who caused the crash in the first place. It would have been better stop the flow of quantative easing, instead compensating depositors who lost out and letting the miserable excuses for banks go under, replacing them with a two tier system: Consumer banks (like the mutual societies) who exist solely to serve customers, and the roullette playing banks separated off and left to their own devices when things go belly up. But the key to all this is the massive shift in wealth distribution. As long as that continues we will never address the absurd levels of housing costs, which currently make the UK a nation more divided than at anytime since around 1930.
  12. It's inevitable that these sites are going to spring up more and more. I'm surprised more people aren't declaring themselves "gypsies" and getting out of the system. The planning laws, designed to protect only those who can bid the highest for a home already existing, have very little to do with protecting the countryside. They are there in order to hurd people into areas designated as cheaper for local authorities to offer services. What we need are more people willing to challenge planning regulations, and more people making a stand. That doesn't mean everyone should not pay their way, or create rubbish or eyesores for everyone else. There are huge areas of woodland and open areas which are not national treasures or even particularly wonderful green belt land which could be built on - lodges, timber frame, other materials, all perfectly sound and liveable but your local council doesn't want you to live anywhere other than where they tell you. They exceed their powers and dictate, all under the bogus reason of "sustainability". They are not protecting rural beauty. They are using that as an excuse to excercise social engineering and manipulation. Stand up to your local planning office. If enough people do it, they'll have to change.
  13. I quite like popping to the shops. It's a bit more lively than ordering things on Amazon. It's the vultures that are closing shops as much as the great grey sheds. Set up a small highstreet business in a secondary location and......here come the vultures: "Ah - so you want to lease my shop premises do you? That'll be £50,000 per annum - oh and there'll be a rent rise at the end of this quarter - in line with inflation of course". "But the place is falling down." "Well it's up to you. I'm just awaiting on offers from various national chains who can pay more. If you get in quick I'll lower it to....um....£48,000. OK?" "Ah - I see you've opened a business. We charge business rates of - let's see - £1,400 per calender month" "What?? How much? ...And what do I get in return?" "Erm.....well there is one street light 50 metres up there". "Don't you even collect my rubbish?" "Er....no....that's a separate charge". "So you are charging me merely for existing. So what's the difference between you and the Mafia?" "Nothing really"
  14. Oh Gawd, what a pointless "poll". Give the cash away and WORK.
  15. The prevention of release of financial information is the very reason why this country, and half of europe, is almost bankrupt. At its least worst, it prevents buyers of anything from making an informed choice. At its very worst, it ruins economies, encourages cartels, allows price fixing, allows the media, government and local authorities and everyone with power over others to abuse their position. Sold prices are vital. Houses are subject to very complex influences such as location, size, quality, covenants, restrictions, and the current market. Nothing stops a seller offering a house at whatever price he chooses. The previous sold price is highly relevant, but doesn't prevent anyone offering whatever they wish after making an informed assessment. The OP is out of order, out of touch, and out of brain matter.
  16. The infrastructure, local rates and running costs of nearly all regional airports has risen exponentially over the last decade. In the same way that you cannot buy a house or business and run it without taking a full part in all the unreasonable running costs (utilities on the rise, but increased profit for the ulitity companies, higher taxation, higher business rates, and in the case of airfileds, ATC costs hitting the roof, CAA certification costs rising inexorably, maintenance, parts and safety/security costs reaching insane levels), it is no surprise that Plymouth is closing. It's the same story in other industries. You simply cannot run anything nowadays without the vultures descending. So what started as a modest but socially useful and viable commercial airport has been strangled by pure greed of all the ancilliary costs levied. BUT......and also.... ....one reason many regional airports close is because industrial and housing development is more profitable. I wouldn't believe much an airport owner said in this regard, since this is an established pattern: Re-launch an airport, provide a half-hearted skeleton passenger service which inevitably fails, then plead poverty in order to persuade the local authority to give outline planning permission for brown field housing estates and "light" industry - perhaps something that was the reason to take over the place right from the beginning. I don't know if that is the case here, but there have been many examples, and West Malling Airfield in Kent (once a thriving GA airfield) set the trend years ago, it now being one of the largest mass housing estates in the UK.
  17. I think that is a myth created by those vested interests who want the current financial regime to continue. I think this myth has successfully frightened the electorate into believing the exaggerated consequences you describe. It depends HOW house prices crash. If they crash due to a collapse of the economy (which might happen anyway) then you have a point. But there are very simple ways of promoting a house price crash without ruining the economy any more than it is at the moment, and these measures have been discussed endlessly on this forum so I won't repeat them. If ALL property is reduced as to capital cost, then a huge amount of cash can be freed up to support more productive areas of the economy. There is always an inverse relationship between interest rates and house prices. The lower interest rates, the higher the capital cost. The higher interest rates are, the more prices are prevented from creeping up. One of the myths promoted by those who have a vested interest in sustaining their "investment" in property rather than simply being able to live in a home, is the fiction that raising interest rates would be the final destruction of the economy. I think this is nonsense. Raising interest rates incrementally will slowly but surely divert the absurd money for example going into that most useless of assets: gold, or perhaps even art, antiques, and all sorts of assets none of which actually create a productive economy, into actually producing things that people need. At the same time it will reduce property prices down to affordable levels. One of the reasons for the meltdown was the illusion that investing in static assets like existing houses would somehow indicate a healthy economy. It had the opposite effect. I think some forget that while raising interest rates, and promoting a property crash, might temporarily harm current vested interests, you can be sure that for every person suffering, there will be others far in the majority (FTBs, savers, those who wish to invest in industry, those who have not been profligate etc) who will benefit. The pouring of cash down the funnel of banks in order to "save" them has resulted in public funds leaking from the sides of that funnel and (yet again) ending up in the hands of those least deserving of help. It woul have been much better (and cheaper) to let the banks fail and support the depositers. Instead the injected cash has merely promoted the same old banking system which has only the interests of those at the top of the funnel. A savage reduction in house prices might have temporary negative consequences, but in the long term cash that should ALWAYS have been available for proper investment can then be freed to do so. This is blindingly obvious when you analyse where trillions of pounds were spent leading up to the crash: Property, property and property. Very little of that cash produced any real wealth, only the illusion of it.
  18. But the real housing shortage is not of stock, but about price. There are probably more homes either for sale or with owners wishing to sell than at any point in many years. But sellers just refuse to move on price, or they simply take the house off the market in the delusional hope that prices will recover. Since mortgage payments for many of these sellers have reached an all time low, they are content to sit tight and wait, because it costs them peanuts to service their mortgages. As long as that goes on, house prices will not fall to a level that is needed. I agree that planning laws and NIMBY attitudes is also stopping the emergence of the kind of housing people can afford in localitites that are not already dismal. The answer is to allow sensible and sympathetic planning in the rural areas that have now become the preserve of the rich and the first "foot-in-th-door" NIMBYs, and you can do that relatively quickly by tripling the number of self builds, relaxing the vague and incoherent "sustainability" regulations (none of which apply to already existing housing) and stopping bonkers pressure groups from persuading us that the habitat of grasshoppers is more important than actually building affordable homes.
  19. Last paragraph not right, but agree with the rest. Many stay-at-homes with mum and dad could afford houses and the builders could still make a profit, because a decent drop in house prices has factored into it a drop in the price of land. In the development close to me, each plot worked out at less than £30,000 (due to economies of scale buying up wholesale plots then building tight and upwards), and the build costs were roughly 50-65k per flat. Each flat was initially marketed and sold at £250,000 in 2004 and after costs that represented a very large profit. The same flats are now typically selling for £170k to £180k and that still leaves room for a fair builder's profit, though I concede building costs have somewhat risen. The price of land in the area has dropped dramatically, except where planning permission is difficult. Thus it is council policy that is also impeding proper house price adjustments. Of course councils should not open the floodgates to vast development in inappropriate areas, but the insane policy of shoving everyone into mass-developed housing should have been nuked years ago. It still goes on.
  20. Top post. They were lucky, plain and simple. They did nothing except happen to live at a time when gambling was in their favour. On rents: They might be creeping up in some parts of London, but they are most definitely not creeping up in many other places, except of course in "desirable" rural locations. My rent has fallen in cash terms and even more including inflation. Most rents in all the areas I have visited in the last year are either static (ie falling inclusive of inflation) or very slightly rising (ie: static including inflation). The myth of a nationwide hike in rents is entirely due to lazy or vested interest media (eg: BBC, Telegraph and sad to say, the Guardian too) spreading the myth created by EA's, letting agents, politicians, spivs, charletons and anyone with a "chartered" before their professional status. Rents have always been inextricably linked to house prices. Eventually, rents will descend in line with current trends, and might descend further still because the market is flooded with new rentals from sellers who cannot sell.
  21. The guardian is only correct on one thing. The Blair/Brown government splashed out on the NHS. They also splashed out tax payers money on wasteful PFI projects to build hospitals and schools, indebting the UK to almost twice the level as that achieved if they had simply used treasury money directly to fund health and education. Aside from the above, the labour party is the conservative party and vice versa. There is no discernable difference and the Guardian has failed over many years to absorb that fact. I would argue that the last four years of Labour's power was more Thatcherite than Thatcher's. The labour party is in complete denial about their appalling toadying to the city at the expense of the electorate. The UK is not a democracy. It is a broad alliance of three similar parties whose policies are virtually identical.
  22. I admire your tenacity but I agree with the other post: No-one should have to run through hoops for seven years to arrive at the point you did. After all, if the council took seven years and eventually agreed, then why not agree in the first place? Surely it doesn't take seven years to re-submit a plan and have them assess it. You say they are only doing their job. That seems reasonable at first but there is an implication in your post that only by being "nice" to them gets the result you wish. They are not there to require you to be pleasant. They are there to assist you within their rules. If I had been baulked for seven years I think I would have been perfectly justified to make their life hell....after all...they made yours hell for several years!! I don't think planners are as constrained as some think. There is a great deal of room for personal "interpretation" and many unelected planning officers seem to make unilateral decisions based on a loose interpretation at their own whim. I know this for certain because I have recently had a discussion with a local authority planner who assured me that his decisions are strictly in line with a mixture of council committee decisions and central and EU dictats. In fact I found out that this man had a very large degree of veto of his own, and used it in a way that virtually changed his authority's planning attitude, in a very dictatorial way. But the time element of your application is the real absurdity. How can it take seven years to reach an accomodation? That is utterly crazy.
  23. Yes, correct, but I think the surprise was in the lack of discussion about AFFORDABLE or AVAILABLE housing. You're right in the sense that in fact there is a huge excess of houses that sellers want to flog, but they are either holding back in the forlorn hope their price will recover, or they leave them on the market at crazy prices. And it's not just the house builders that promote the shortage myth. The media quote the same myth and the general public have been brainwashed by the media. The fact remains that in effect, there IS a shortage because no-one can afford what is available.
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