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Selling up

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  1. I have a couple of friends working for East Lancashire PCT. One (senior manager) has been made redundant and the other is probably about to.

    I was commiserating with them when the ex-senior manager revealed that their pay was protected for 5 years.

    So as of today the ex-senior manager is doing nothing while drawing her salary. The PCT will now try to find a more junior post for her to fill, at the same salary she was earning previously.

    It makes the GP contract look positively sensible!

    Edit: So it isn't only in Wales!

  2. Dare I suggest that the letter above is a little long and not quite as focused as it could be?

    How about something closer to:


    The media are painting the proposed cut in housing benefit as a bad thing. Yet high housing benefit supports high rents. A cut in benefit will drive down rents, thus saving taxpayer money while benefiting tenants everywhere. The people who will lose out are not the poor but any overextended landlords who rely on fleecing the taxpayer.


  3. god, what a pair of dickwads you two are. Arguing about a definition.

    black swan event = generally regarded as highly unlikely.

    note the word 'generally'.

    Actually, I thought that a Black Swan event = one whose likelihood has never been considered.

    Think of a casino; the probability of a lucky gambler bankrupting the casino one evening is known to the management and tiny; this would not be a Black Swan event.

    Whereas the probability of a huge flying saucer landing on top of the casino and crushing it has (probably) never been considered. This would be a Black Swan.

  4. Another factor worth watching is how the 'Playstation generation' will affect the housing market. Gaming and a virtual existence doesn't seem to be a passing phase among addicts, but more a chronic condition. People who are addicted to games or virtual worlds are less likely to want all the distraction of looking after a bigger house or garden than they really need.

    Hmm. I rather imagine the same words could have been written when the novel was invented... or radio... or television...

  5. I think the agent's attitude is crazy.

    You don't want that house. Fine, that means you are a buyer looking for a different house. In today's market that makes you gold dust. He cannot afford the luxury of trying to make you feel bad just to soothe his ego.

    If you did write to his boss I think he'd probably get quite a reprimand.

    Not pissing off buyers is quite a fundamental principle of selling.

  6. Could someone check my understanding please:

    So if i bought now with rpi at roughly 5%, and rpi is the same on an anniversary valuation, "index linking" would be a multiplier of 1, so i would only earn the interest over inflation on my investment? Doesn't seem like a very good investment if that is the case.

    The bonds are specifically designed to give a return of 1% over inflation, guaranteed. So yes, if RPI inflation over the next 12m is 5%, the bonds pay 6%.

    As to 'not a very good investment', I beg to disagree. Where else do you plan to find 1% over inflation (eg 6% in the last 12m) guaranteed?

  7. When I worked as a GP I used to see people who were living (usually) in Spain and would nip back 4 times a year to get their NHS prescription renewed, have their blood pressure checked etc.

    I had to point out to them that they were no longer entitled to routine NHS care now that they were not UK residents (I believe that any EU member is entitled to free emergency care here as we are when visiting other EU countries) and if they would be so good as to confirm that they had the means to pay for this private consultation then we could proceed. It surprised me how many ex-pats seemed to be unaware of this fact... and un-amused by it! B)

    (This was a couple of years back, it may have changed.)

  8. Do your buyers a favour. Have the common decency to pay their costs when you pull out.

    A noble sentiment but it seems a little foolish to me.

    Buyers and sellers both know perfectly well that nothing is settled until exchange, that's how the game works. Both sides are well aware that an unwritten agreement to sell is not legally binding.

    I would no more expect a seller to refund the buyer's costs than I would expect a buyer to pay the seller's agency fees on pulling out of an unwritten deal.

  9. I hope he means receives less from the public purse than is paid in. Receipt from the public purse is not limited to benefits. Public sector salaries meet the criteria too.

    How do you propose to make this work? Say a public servant is paid 30k. You would need to find a way to assign a monetary value to the benefit of the work they do, then work out if this value is more or less than 30k.

    Clearly an impossible task. What is the monetary equivalent value of a single soldier's contribution to the wellbeing of the nation, for instance?

  10. This brings up all the problmes of defining wealth that I started a thread on recently.

    You're bringing in a red herring by mentioning the MARKET value of nation A's housing stock. This might for instance, change radically from day to day depending on credit availability, whereas the utility (I think that's the word) or 'social value' of the housing stock will differ little from day to day.

    The housing stock will certainly have a social value; how one rationally assigns a monetary equivalent to that value is deeply problematic. And therefore the difference in 'wealth' between your two nations will depend entirely on if and how your measures convert such 'social value' to numbers.

  11. Agreed. This is pretty much my understanding of it too. Not sure where people keep getting the "change in RPI" thing from.

    Seems pretty clear to me.

    Actually it's not so clear at all.

    When a newspaper, or a commentator here says 'RPI hits 5%' they are actually using the wrong terminology; what has actually happened is that 'the RPI [Retail Price Index] has increased by 5%'.

    The RPI itself is an index (think of it a basket of goods), not a measure of inflation. On the day the RPI was created, the cost of those goods was mathematically manipulated to give a value (I haven't been able to find out what the value was but usually the value of any index at creation is arbitrarily set at 100 units). This would mean that RPI was 100 units in year 1. By the end of year 1, the value of the goods had increased: The RPI was now valued at 105 units.

    So in year 2, RPI was 105. Over the first year, RPI INFLATION, IE the change in RPI was 5%, and this is what would have been reported.

    IE. RPI INFLATION, which is what the papers report, is calculated by the change in the value of the RPI.

    Sorry that my explanation is poor, the concept of an index and its inflation is not easy to cover in a single post. Check out wikipedia 'price index' for more information.

    The bottom line is that what we colloquially call 'RPI' is in fact the CHANGE in the RPI (which is the same as RPI inflation).

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