Wednesday’s headlines

Economics

The Telegraph reports that the recovery in the housing market is feeding cash back into the pocket of the treasury, as stamp duty revenues have risen almost £1bn in the first six months of the financial year.  Tax revenues rose 7pc, buoyed by rising house prices, and a pick-up in market activity resulting from the Government’s Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme, and the range of cheaper loans on offer. If payments continue at the same pace, the government will pocket £1.2bn more than planned in stamp duty in the March budget. That, along with an improvement in public spending, could mean the government will need to borrow £15bn less than the £120bn forecast in March. (Daily Telegraph B2)

Personal Finance

Millions of people approaching their retirement are failing to properly prepare for how they will pay for old age care. The Equity Release Council have found that over-55’s estimate the average yearly charge at a residential home to be £16,027 p.a., 44% lower than the actual cost, with a quarter admitting they will be unable to afford to pay themselves. Jonathan Bruce, managing director of Prestige Nursing + Care said: “People take a head in the sand approach thinking it might not happen to them.” (Daily Express p.25)

Property

Frank Gehry, architect of the famous Guggenheim Bilbao, is to collaborate with Lord Foster on the redevelopment of Battersea power station. He will be designing “the High Street” which will be spread on either side of a proposed new Underground station, an addition to the Northern line. It will become the first significant project for Gehry in Britain. Foster and Gehry have already worked together on a regeneration project together – Foster designed the subway system for Bilbao, which was also credited in playing a key role in the revitalisation of the city. In this collaboration, the two architects will work under the master plan of Rafael Vinoly, designer of the controversial Walkie Talkie building. (FT p.2)

Recruitment

Cuts in council funding are forcing rising numbers of care firms to break the law, by employing workers at below the minimum wage, according to The Guardian. David Norgrove, head of the Low Pay Commission, has warned that some councils are drastically slashing the rates that they pay care companies to feed, wash and clothe care home residents, and using ‘ruses’ to pay staff less than the £6.31-an-hour minimum wage. 120 care providers – the equivalent to one in every local care authority – is under investigation, with claims care companies are using tactics such as not paying travel time between visits to lower their expenses, in response to their slashed budgets. The United Kingdom Housing Association said that “firms face a constant struggle to comply with the minimum wage law.” (The Guardian p.1)

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