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jdc

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About jdc

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  1. No, but he is co-chairman of the Conservative Party's Policy Review Group on Economic Competitiveness... if the Conservatives have different policies from his, let's hear them.
  2. If you add in public sector pensions for the UK, but not for the other countries, then yes, you can get a bigger number for us. Nobody in the world calculates it like that though, for a very good reason, it's future spending, not current debt.
  3. Our public sector debt, even if you add in PFI and all that, isn't especially high by international standards. Arguably it's lower than Germany, Japan, France, Italy, etc. In the long-run, I think we should try to get it down, but now isn't the time to take more money out of the economy in that way. Our real crisis is too much private debt. Individuals have borrowed too much. It's the Tories who are proposing slashing interest rates to reward people who have taken on too much debt, punish savers, and encourage another debt-fuelled binge. For months John Redwood has called for them to be cut to 2-3% "to start with"!
  4. Seriously? People here really think the Tory economic team's plan to cut interest rates further and faster is a better policy than counter-cyclical tax and spending policy? I thought this was a haven of clue! Economy faltering, too much private debt, people desperate to buy Government debt, individuals don't have enough money to make ends meet. To me, that screams "government should use its borrowing power to buy services at cheap rates, and hand cash back through tax cuts". It certainly doesn't scream "government should cut back, and try to relaunch the economy by encouraging more cheap private sector and individual debt".
  5. Christmas 2010 is looking good for me, if prices are sane and I'm settled. If not, a decent rental is no problem, and the added ease of moving around is helpful for chasing promotions. If the Tory Government doesn't (well, it won't, will it) fix the boom and bust addiction to housing debt, or the tax breaks for landlords, then I might rent for myself and buy somewhere good value to rent out. My turn to be BTL scum, and all that. Should be able to get a decent place in the Midlands for cash by then.
  6. Well, after a period of general increases, rents here have fallen back sufficiently that for £5 a week less than we pay, and a slightly smaller living room, we could have a view of the Thames and an on-site gym and swimming pool, and that's "immune to everything centre of the world London". Shame moving would be such a cost and hassle really.
  7. I think you need to look at turnover in the 'new purchases' mortgage figures. 1.2 million homes (so what, 2 million people) is probably consistent with around a 30% nominal drop, if you assume that the average FTB put down a 10% deposit, and the average STB had 30% because of equity in their previous sale.
  8. Depends how close to the river, tube, and SE1 you are. We rent a 2-bed 2-bath for 285 a week, but we're away from the river and a little way into SE16 (near the Co-op, if you know it), though we do have a large living room. Go further towards the Millwall Ground and you're talking 225-235 for the same sort of place. Riverside, even outside Shad Thames and Rotherhithe, I'd say 350-400 is achievable for the same kind of flat.
  9. Unless it's happened in the last week and a half, that's a complete fiction. Although we have lived in the same place for over two years with no rent increase now, I watch the market obsessively. Rental prices in SE16 surged between mid 2005 and the start of 2007, since when they have fallen back almost to where they were in 2005. Use your Property Bee. Admittedly there are more expensive flats on the market, but that's because they've built lots of supposedly posh stuff in Canada Water, whereas you can't new-build ex-council, by definition...
  10. Hmm. The 2000 to 2003 FTSE crash didn't exactly stop HPI did it? I think in theory this is helpful - destroys deposits and confidence. In practice though, some people (I've spoken to two this week) will think "oh, shares are crashing again! they're such a bad pension. Maybe I should get into property now while it's cheap".
  11. G7, then IMF. Scheduled meeting, not UK specific. Currently, the UK Government is finding it easy to borrow, as people (and foreign governments) have money they don't want to put in shares or property. That may change, but at the moment, there's no problem.
  12. Oh for heaven's sake RB, post a factual story once in a while to keep your credibility up! He's off to an IMF meeting. Not just him - the Finance Ministers of every major country. If he goes to see them before then, it will be to complain about Iceland.
  13. All councils have reserves. It's the law. Even if they didn't, they'd build up money at the start of the year, since most people pay Council tax in 10 months or faster, and they pay wages etc over 12.
  14. What happens when there's a huge flood like in Gloucestershire, or a fire like at Buncefield, or a sudden doubling in the price of electricity the week after the budget is set, and there's no spare money to deal with it, then?
  15. This is right. Councils are under huge amounts of pressure from Government to make 'efficiency savings', but the central rules leave them very little discretion to do so. In the last five years I'd say Councils have saved almost as much from learning how to get the cheapest possible borrowing and the highest interest rate on their reserves as they have from joint procurement, reverse auctions and what have you. Now that's gone wrong. To me, and to us here, the Iceland situation was foreseeable. One would have thought it would be to a professional money manager, yet plenty of people have managed to get it wrong. I think they need to give an account of themselves, and some of them I imagine won't have a good enough story to tell to avoid the dole queue. But more importantly I think we need to look at the incentives - much like in fund management it's better for the individual to be wrong in a crowd than right too soon.
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