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T_V

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Everything posted by T_V

  1. +1 I have a 2006 2.0 TDCI Mondeo as a runaround (3 kids), 42-45mpg mixed cycle and over 55mpg on short motorway trips. Motorway I can do better but I set the cruise control to 70, 60 is just painful. Don't entirely agree on the handling comment but definitely agree on the weight and response although it is much better than an old Astra Diesel I drove recently.
  2. This is a good analysis but a bit optimistic IMHO regarding the effects on staffing. I was intrigued by the email and contacted a couple of acquaintances in schools and they told me that they found it understandable that the effect of such a drop was so many redundancies. They went on to explain that in schools the vast majority of expenditure is in salaries so funding gaps can't be covered by not buying textbooks etc as this expenditure constitutes a small part of the overall budget. One of them told me he expects a bloodbath in his school come April. The other that schools in good financial condition will avoid mass redundancies (via natural wastage etc) but overextended ones will behave as in the OP. I am of the same opinion, from what I have been told and reading/seeing, there doesn't seem to be a truly "protected" area as cuts appear to be happening everywhere in the public sector.
  3. I have just been told that the figure has apparently gone up (now 26 are going) of which 2 are "senior" staff. As far as the 5% cut to all is concerned, I have also been told that this would mean a change to contracts for all staff, which for whoever has worked with the public sector will know is nigh on impossible. Easier to just slash the posts.
  4. I have just been contacted by a fellow contractor that works with the public sector and more specifically schools. He emailed me (I quote): "Large inner city comp, now an Academy, has just received its budget from the City/LEA. Although education was supposedly protected it seems only direct funding to schools is, other sources of income are not, as a result they have seen a 5% drop in their budget. They seem to have expected it as they immediately announced 21 redundancies (compulsory from what I understand) including some teachers. I have also been told the original number might be revised up (not down), in any case we are looking at jobs carnage in the public sector from April onwards if "protected" areas are affected like that." No need to comment, he says it all really.
  5. I think this is the most important aspect of the report: UK unemployment total increases to 2.5m
  6. Same here. Had both our children in rented. BUT when the time came for schools, catchments etc, things changed. Nothing to rent even remotely close to a good school. We were plain lucky to land a (what we consider) catch at a 2005 price with a 30% LTV x2 salary mortgage. Completed 2 months ago. To those who flame those who seem to capitulate (I am one of them), circumstances are different for every family.
  7. Looking mainly at Bournville, the good parts of Selly Oak, Selly Park and maybe Harborne and properties do exactly that: Available -> Sold STC -> Available and so on, most of the times accompanied with a price reduction. In the last 4 months that I have been checking with PB only one (mildly) interesting property (4-5 bed detached but leasehold and at the very edge of the cul de sac) has sold (yet to be verified by the LR data though). Where I am looking absolutely nothing is shifting but prices are reduced mainly by silly 5-10K (I am looking at the £300K-£400K bracket), although I had my first 100K reduction today (on the £500K-600K bracket though).
  8. I have already sent my application for this account (not the Fixed Rate Cash Only ISA as it has penalties for withdrawals and only gives 10 points more in interest), the transfer form from the NS&I Direct ISA and a check for £3600 (the full 2008/2009 allowance). They called me on Wednesday and will open it on Monday. Cast iron guarantee from HM Gov and 6% for a year without penalties is OK me thinks. NS&I are starting to take the p**s with their products lately (index linked certs and rates in general).
  9. Can you explain what you mean by "riskiest" and how you measure that risk? If CDS ratings are anything to go by Santander (owns Abbey) is in the same league as RBS, certainly not as good as Lloyds or HSBC but definitely not at the same level as B&B. Also putting Abbey on a par (risk wise) with the Icelanding banks is stretching it a bit IMHO. Edit: Typo
  10. I haven't seen this account discussed anywhere here. It offers 6.25% (variable I know) without in/out restrictions. Is there any reason it should be avoided?
  11. I am looking at just 3 and have seen reductions of 30K-50K (albeit in the 300K-400K bracket). These are isolated cases I admit but the best part is that some properties I have viewed and blatantly said to the EA that are overpriced by at least 30K have been reduced by the same amount about 3 weeks after the viewing!
  12. Agreed but the Palace of Westminster is not worth more than California (or is it...?)
  13. 80% it was, but from unrealistic highs hence the statistic is not immediately usable. The most common example of the "irrational exuberance" investors exhibited was that the grounds of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo were estimated to have a greater value than all of California or more than the whole of Canada...
  14. There are now 500 PFI projects worth a total of £44billion It is the Mail but it is the only public quite informative URL I could find. Quite a lot on the subject exists in the FT (naturally). Mind you the way these are accounted for is a matter of debate as the FT article in my previous post points out.
  15. More like 2bn and they still do not know the full extent of the problem due to a maze of contracts. This number will almost certainly inflate quickly only the public will not know about it. They even tried to bury this, imagine what they will do when it goes the same way as the Olympics budget . Edit: spelling.
  16. Quite a lot of PFI is coming on the books in April. See Darling’s dilemma over PFI
  17. Rather than resorting to taxes , it would be nice to have some sound financial management of existing resources. The amount of cowboys raking it on the back of the taxpayer is unbelievable. Especially in education, totally unqualified people have control over budgets that extend in the tens of millions. There was a Dispatches investigation some 18 months ago (Public Service, Private Profit) that summarised perfectly the situation, more than I could in the space of a post.
  18. Consultants mainly, as always. This is not helping things either: Darling’s dilemma over PFI
  19. No conspiracy theory here I am afraid. Pure incompetence. I have been peripherally involved in BSF almost since its inception and you wouldn't believe the amount of money already spent for a big fat zero. The money for phases 1-6 has already been allocated so wouldn't make any difference when it is spent. Things will become interesting when phase 7 onwards PFIs start getting cancelled and also look for the "revised" calendar for school completions.
  20. The delays are mainly because the gov had no idea how complex and time consuming the procurement process would be and also that councils wouldn't have adequate resources to support it. Also there is huge backlash in schools re the affordability gap as the allocated funds have remained the same since the announcement in 2004 (not adjusted for inflation). To put it bluntly it would cost schools less to keep the status quo without the risk of deterioration of services that economies of scale sometimes entail. Add into the mix the outsourcing of services (IT and Site maintenance at least) and you can see just some of the problems.
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