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Never Mind

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  1. Be glad you're not in Scotland - next year's council tax demand just arrived today. Up to £256 per month from £221 per month last year, a 15.8% increase for a band G house (admittedly after years of freezes). Combine that with the Scottish Government not raising the 40% tax threshold (like the rest of the UK), it's getting expensive!
  2. I thought it was worse - household income upto 60k could claim child tax credit at one point?
  3. Visited one of their outlet stores today, plastered with 30%, 40%, or 50% off on virtually all of the merchandise. Admittedly ridiculous starting ticket prices though. I'd taken along a 40% off voucher printed from their website, which was also applied on top of the in store discounts. Looking at the final prices on the receipt, it felt like I was robbing the place.Strangely, the store wasn't that busy and the other shoppers that I did see there didn't seem to be using an extra discount. Loads of stock/sizes available too. I wonder if people are suffering from sales fatigue? A sale used to work when they were rare events, but if you're having one every 5 minutes, then the 'sale' price becomes the norm. That said, I'm probably least qualified to judge sales in physical shops - the last time I was at this shopping mall, they still had a Borders Books, which puts my last visit at pre-December 2009 or earlier
  4. Average 24% swing from Labour to SNP in Scotland!
  5. Overall turnout around 71% in Scotland vs 65% in England from numbers on BBC website?
  6. One of my wife's friends used the leafleting tactic when she bought her house. She wanted to stay within a very specific area, and nothing suitable was coming on to the market. She targeted a range of houses she was interested in an got several responses. It worked for her, but the particular example in your post just feels like it isn't written by someone looking for a family home to live in, definitely feels a bit too 'professional'. Given the wide spread distrust of EAs and low volumes of family homes coming to the market (in my area anyway!) I'm surprised to not see more of this approach by genuine buyers. BTW, if you want to truly anonymise the phone number in your 2nd attachment, you'll need to blank out the numbers in the gumtree URL, as they seem to uniquely identify gumtree listings.
  7. Found this fountain of ISA statistics whilst googling to try to substantiate these claims of multi-million ISA owners. Various interesting stats dividing ISA subscription rates by year, gender, income bands, geographical region. Well worth a look. Also found this on the Telegraph How to save a million-pound Isa. All so easy in hindsight
  8. Saw the same ad at the weekend immediately before Monsters University, that I'd gone to see with my 4 year old daughter. Sitting watching the ad in that context, with an audience mainly comprised of children and their parents, and given the animated 'child friendly' style of the ad, it felt like a form of indoctrination was taking place. It's a desperate attempt to try to restore confidence and trust in modern high finance by drawing parallels to simple banking/building society principles of old. I guess a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority wouldn't get anywhere as they are very careful not to claim anything in the video, merely tug at the heartstrings with their swelling, uplifting music, aimed at giving you a nice warm, fuzzy feeling at the end. 'Comments are disabled for this video' on YouTube. Says it all. Sickening.
  9. A rather uniquely decorated bathroom in this place :
  10. I'm going to reserve judgement until the exact details of this scheme are available (in the budget report?). I'm still sceptical of what the benefit will be depending on the tax treatment of the new payments. On the one hand, I'm glad that those in the old scheme can choose to continue or transfer to the new scheme, on the other, it's just another complication for employers and childcare providers to have to administer a myriad of schemes, all with different rules. It shouldn't be so complicated!
  11. As has already been pointed out, this will be an increase in support for childcare where both parents work. To take my example, both I and my wife claim the maximum £243 per month (£2916pa) in Childcare vouchers. Tax relief for new entrants is capped at what a basic rate taxpayer would receive, so a saving of ~£583pa each (£1166 total), versus the new figure of £1200. There is no mention in the article, but I remember it being mooted when the scheme was first proposed that the 'up to £1200' may be per child. This is significant, as the previous limit remained the same regardless of the number of children you had. The sting in the tail being that salary sacrifice could be used for the old childcare voucher scheme, hence increasing the amount you could earn before straying into 40% tax. I would guess that won't be possible for the new scheme, dragging more into the 40% tax bracket.
  12. Some interesting information contained in 'The Grapevine' - Cramond & Barnton Community Council Newsletter, which got put through my door today. "Continued concern was expressed about the planning permission which had been given for the demolition of the Robert Lorimer house at 174 Whitehouse Road and its replacement by 2 blocks of flats. It was noted that the next door property had been replaced by a block of 7 flats, 5 of which were still unsold several years after completion. The council was seeking to increase the housing stock in view of forecast needs and this was, no doubt, a factor in giving permission for the replacement of single houses by blocks of flats. However, because of the recession many properties were going unsold and the council was keen to bring these into use, possibly by compulsory purchase if the powers and resources were available." Bolding is mine. Strange use of tense in some of the quote. I assume the next door property refers to 176 Whitehouse Road, which has definitely featured on here before. Google street view shows a Knight Frank board outside stating that five flats are available, and Zoopla only shows 2 sales for the address, so fits with the info. in the article. Not sure why a compulsory purchase would take place. If it does, I hope it represents value for the taxpayer and isn't just a back door bailout of the developer involved :angry: I shall be keeping an eye on this for more news.
  13. Someone obviously thinks that the appearance of the front of this house may put off potential buyers, so try a couple of tricks to distract you; Main photo - 'I know we're selling a house, but let's make the focal point of the main picture a fancy car.' Last photo - No, the house didn't change colour, they've helpfully altered it to show you how it could look. LOL at the tiny text on the photo 'Image of house, if it were rendered, subject to Planning Consent' Rendering it must remove all the clouds in the sky too : House in Cramond Next time I need to sell, I'm hiring a Ferrari to park out the front, and photo-shopping in an extra 3 bedrooms and a detached garage.
  14. I can probably help you with this, having been through the pain of the application process myself. I had the 'application in the post' message from them, waited a week, no sign of anything, called them to be told 'we have no record of your application'. Tried again, got exactly the same message at the end of the application. Waited a while, nothing. Tried a third time, only to find that the application process took a completely different route around 6 forms in. My guess is that it silently failed on the first 2 goes. The 3rd application took me through an ID verification process that the other 2 didn't. The first 2 applications were on weekend evenings, my guess is they took the ID verification systems off-line for maintenance, but the application process doesn't flag it as an error and just silently fails by presenting the user with a semi-successful looking application confirmation screen. I believe that a successful application should end with an account being opened and the details given to you, or a reference number if ID couldn't be verified. I got a reference number, which meant they sent a form to sign and return by post about 5 days later. A few days after that, I finally got confirmation of opening and account number/sort code details. Still waiting for half of the on-line banking login details though. Filled in a transfer form from them too and that had 2 different addresses it could be sent to, 1 on the page that links to the form, and 1 on the form itself. My impression is that their systems are cobbled together and poorly designed/tested. I sincerely hope that nothing goes wrong with the account and I need to contact them to do anything as my experience so far has been poor. BTW, you don't even get 3.5% from opening, it's something like 3.5% from the 15/16th day of the month following opening and 2.5% until then. They've actually changed the advertised AER on their website to reflect this, so top rate is now stated as 3.32% AER(variable). It may prove a better decision to apply elsewhere, as the rate doesn't justify the hassle, and the delays I encountered more than nullify the 'market leading' rate.
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