<p>Complaints about the country’s 2,500 housing associations are growing. We need better ways to check they are still fit for purpose</p><p>At the beginning of 2016, I received a handful of letters from social housing residents complaining about intermittent hot water and heating, persistently broken lifts, mould growing on their walls, and rat infestations in their homes.</p><p> <span>Related: </span><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/apr/12/mps-call-for-sweeping-changes-to-housing-association-regulation">MPs call for sweeping changes to housing association regulation</a> </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/housing-network/2017/apr/27/change-regulate-british-social-housing-sector">Continue reading...</a>

We need urgent change to British housing regulation | Rushanara Ali

Apr 27, 2017 7:35

Complaints about the country’s 2,500 housing associations are growing. We need better ways to check they are still fit for purpose

At the beginning of 2016, I received a handful of letters from social housing residents complaining about intermittent hot water and heating, persistently broken lifts, mould growing on their walls, and rat infestations in their homes.

Related: MPs call for sweeping changes to housing association regulation

Continue reading...

<p>We rent in Oxfordshire but want to buy property near Sheffield to let until we move there<br></p><p><strong>Q</strong> My partner and I have been renting for the past seven years. We live in a salubrious part of Oxfordshire in a house we would never be able to afford to buy without a lottery win. We’ve been lucky enough to have as landlords a wealthy elderly couple, who let us pay probably half the going rate for the area on the unspoken proviso that we don’t bother them about minor repairs and keep the place in good order. It suits us all fine. <br></p><p>This has allowed us to save up a small pot over the years and I recently inherited around £100,000 from my grandmother. This gives us a cash deposit of roughly £140,000 to buy somewhere, but with a joint income of around £40,000 and the average two-bed around here selling at the half a million mark, we’re going to have to start looking elsewhere.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/apr/27/first-time-buyers-can-we-get-buy-to-let-mortgage">Continue reading...</a>

As first-time buyers, can we take out a buy-to-let mortgage?

Apr 27, 2017 7:00

We rent in Oxfordshire but want to buy property near Sheffield to let until we move there

Q My partner and I have been renting for the past seven years. We live in a salubrious part of Oxfordshire in a house we would never be able to afford to buy without a lottery win. We’ve been lucky enough to have as landlords a wealthy elderly couple, who let us pay probably half the going rate for the area on the unspoken proviso that we don’t bother them about minor repairs and keep the place in good order. It suits us all fine.

This has allowed us to save up a small pot over the years and I recently inherited around £100,000 from my grandmother. This gives us a cash deposit of roughly £140,000 to buy somewhere, but with a joint income of around £40,000 and the average two-bed around here selling at the half a million mark, we’re going to have to start looking elsewhere.

Continue reading...

<p>Labour leader will also use visit to Harlow in Essex to pledge 500,000 new homes, half of them for council rent</p><p>Labour is set to renew its attack on the government’s housebuilding record, with Jeremy Corbyn using a campaign trip to Essex to say Theresa May is presiding over a crisis of “runaway rents and unaffordable housing”.</p><p>The party leader is due to visit Harlow, traditionally a bellwether general election seat, to pledge that if he were in government he would have 500,000 new homes built, half of them for council rent.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/apr/27/jeremy-corbyn-to-renew-attack-on-tories-housebuilding-record">Continue reading...</a>

Jeremy Corbyn to renew attack on Tories' housebuilding record

Apr 27, 2017 6:00

Labour leader will also use visit to Harlow in Essex to pledge 500,000 new homes, half of them for council rent

Labour is set to renew its attack on the government’s housebuilding record, with Jeremy Corbyn using a campaign trip to Essex to say Theresa May is presiding over a crisis of “runaway rents and unaffordable housing”.

The party leader is due to visit Harlow, traditionally a bellwether general election seat, to pledge that if he were in government he would have 500,000 new homes built, half of them for council rent.

Continue reading...

<p>West Heslerton Estate – a hamlet near Scarborough including a mansion, 43 houses, a pub and farmland – sold to Norfolk-based firm Albanwise Ltd</p><p>An entire English village has been bought one year after it went on the market for £20m.</p><p>Albanwise Ltd, a Norfolk-based real estate and farming investment firm, said on Wednesday it had <a draggable="true" href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/aug/22/west-heslerton-village-north-yorkshire-offer-made-sale-eve-dawnay">purchased West Heslerton Estate</a> near Scarborough in North Yorkshire.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/apr/27/entire-yorkshire-village-sold-for-20m-after-a-year-on-the-market">Continue reading...</a>

Yorkshire village sold one year after it went on the market for £20m

Apr 27, 2017 0:35

West Heslerton Estate – a hamlet near Scarborough including a mansion, 43 houses, a pub and farmland – sold to Norfolk-based firm Albanwise Ltd

An entire English village has been bought one year after it went on the market for £20m.

Albanwise Ltd, a Norfolk-based real estate and farming investment firm, said on Wednesday it had purchased West Heslerton Estate near Scarborough in North Yorkshire.

Continue reading...

Celebrity complaints about building disruption hog the headlines. But with regulations not fit for purpose, the rest of us have to suffer in silence<p>Critics of the royals have found another stick to beat the Cambridges with. Residents of their select corner of London are reportedly up in arms over plans for a <a href="http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/william-kate-neighbours-slam-proposals-10297391" title="">double-storey extension</a> beneath the Orangery at Kensington Palace, citing the noise, the pollution and the general inappropriateness of the whole idea. Defenders of the scheme insist that it is about making more space for the duke and duchess’s charity staff, and improving facilities for visitors.</p><p>High-profile planning disputes, especially about so-called mega-basements in the capital – because that is where the payback from additional space is greatest – have become a feature of the city landscape.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/26/quiet-life-britain-celebrity-building-disruption">Continue reading...</a>

Why is the quiet life in Britain reserved for the rich? | Mary Dejevsky

Apr 26, 2017 19:05

Celebrity complaints about building disruption hog the headlines. But with regulations not fit for purpose, the rest of us have to suffer in silence

Critics of the royals have found another stick to beat the Cambridges with. Residents of their select corner of London are reportedly up in arms over plans for a double-storey extension beneath the Orangery at Kensington Palace, citing the noise, the pollution and the general inappropriateness of the whole idea. Defenders of the scheme insist that it is about making more space for the duke and duchess’s charity staff, and improving facilities for visitors.

High-profile planning disputes, especially about so-called mega-basements in the capital – because that is where the payback from additional space is greatest – have become a feature of the city landscape.

Continue reading...

<p>When his business collapsed, owner Dunstan Lowe put his property on the market, but received no good offers – so came up with the idea of a competition<br></p><p>With entries from as far as China, Russia and even Mauritius, locals in the tiny village of Melling, nestled in the Lancashire countryside, are waiting to see who will become the next Lord and Lady Melling.</p><p> <span>Related: </span><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/apr/04/the-property-billboards-that-reveal-the-truth-about-britains-luxury-housing-market">The property billboards that reveal the truth about Britain’s luxury housing market</a> </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/apr/26/raffle-ticket-lord-lady-melling-manor">Continue reading...</a>

£2 raffle ticket could see you become Lord or Lady of Melling Manor

Apr 26, 2017 17:00

When his business collapsed, owner Dunstan Lowe put his property on the market, but received no good offers – so came up with the idea of a competition

With entries from as far as China, Russia and even Mauritius, locals in the tiny village of Melling, nestled in the Lancashire countryside, are waiting to see who will become the next Lord and Lady Melling.

Related: The property billboards that reveal the truth about Britain’s luxury housing market

Continue reading...

I’d much rather have to gaze upon the incongruous Kensington paint job than live with the violence and paranoia that turned me into a sleepless wreck<p>In a tremendously swanky area of Kensington, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/apr/24/red-white-striped-house-zipporah-lisle-mainwaring" title="">Zipporah Lisle-Mainwaring, a property developer</a>, painted the front of her house in garish red-and-white stripes, enraging her neighbours. Now the high court in London is allowing her to keep it that way. And, lucky her – she only uses the house for storage, so she doesn’t have to face her infuriated neighbours, day in, day out.</p><p>I feel sorry for them. The house looks wildly incongruous, the street must now be fizzing with hatred, and they can’t even have a shout at Lisle-Mainwaring, because she probably isn’t around, and pent-up rage does no one any good. But although the title “property developer” sickens me, and I think she’s wrecked the loveliness and harmony of the street, as difficult neighbours go, she is fairly mild.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/26/stripy-house-eyesore-neighbour-paint">Continue reading...</a>

Yes, the stripy house is an eyesore. But it’s hardly a neighbour from hell | Michele Hanson

Apr 26, 2017 13:59

I’d much rather have to gaze upon the incongruous Kensington paint job than live with the violence and paranoia that turned me into a sleepless wreck

In a tremendously swanky area of Kensington, Zipporah Lisle-Mainwaring, a property developer, painted the front of her house in garish red-and-white stripes, enraging her neighbours. Now the high court in London is allowing her to keep it that way. And, lucky her – she only uses the house for storage, so she doesn’t have to face her infuriated neighbours, day in, day out.

I feel sorry for them. The house looks wildly incongruous, the street must now be fizzing with hatred, and they can’t even have a shout at Lisle-Mainwaring, because she probably isn’t around, and pent-up rage does no one any good. But although the title “property developer” sickens me, and I think she’s wrecked the loveliness and harmony of the street, as difficult neighbours go, she is fairly mild.

Continue reading...

<p>We’d all love more public money going into genuinely affordable rented homes, but that’s not going to happen. We have found our own way forward</p><p>Steve Hilditch has been an articulate and informed writer on housing issues for a long time. What he says is usually thoughtful and worth listening to – which is why <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/housing-network/2017/apr/24/housing-associations-crisis-commercialisation">his most recent piece</a> is so disappointing. <br></p><p>We are used to evidence-free accusations from many in the media about housing associations losing their mission and social purpose. It’s quite a surprise when similar evidence-free accusations come from Hilditch. His central suggestion is that some housing associations “have become developers first and foremost”. Indeed, they have, as they have always been. Housing associations’ mission is based on building new homes for people in need. To accuse them of losing their purpose because they are building homes is perverse. This is what they are for.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/housing-network/2017/apr/26/housing-associations-house-building-affordable-rent">Continue reading...</a>

It's not perverse of housing associations to build homes | David Orr

Apr 26, 2017 9:05

We’d all love more public money going into genuinely affordable rented homes, but that’s not going to happen. We have found our own way forward

Steve Hilditch has been an articulate and informed writer on housing issues for a long time. What he says is usually thoughtful and worth listening to – which is why his most recent piece is so disappointing.

We are used to evidence-free accusations from many in the media about housing associations losing their mission and social purpose. It’s quite a surprise when similar evidence-free accusations come from Hilditch. His central suggestion is that some housing associations “have become developers first and foremost”. Indeed, they have, as they have always been. Housing associations’ mission is based on building new homes for people in need. To accuse them of losing their purpose because they are building homes is perverse. This is what they are for.

Continue reading...

<p>Take a dip, fish, explore the woods or simply soak in the views – from Wales to France and Italy</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/apr/26/lakeside-homes-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Lakeside homes – in pictures

Apr 26, 2017 7:00

Take a dip, fish, explore the woods or simply soak in the views – from Wales to France and Italy

Continue reading...

<p>Grosvenor Group reports worst UK performance since 2008 as Brexit and stamp duty rise cause slowdown in capital</p><p>The 26-year-old Duke of Westminster, who is believed to be the world’s richest person under 30 with a £9bn fortune, has been hit by a steep drop in returns on his family’s British property empire, which includes many of the most famous addresses in London’s Mayfair and Belgravia.</p><p>The Grosvenor Group, which Hugh Grosvenor inherited last year following the death of his father Gerald Grosvenor, <a href="http://www.grosvenor.com/getattachment/50d21ff9-3bf6-4482-aba7-6a181e39e4f6/Financial-Results-Press-Announcement-2016.pdf">reported on Tuesday</a> that returns on its British &amp; Irish property portfolio had collapsed to just 0.3% last year compared with 10.7% in 2015. It is the company’s worst UK performance since the 2008 financial crisis and follows six successive years of returns above 10%. </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/apr/25/duke-of-westminster-property-empire-london-grosvenor-group-brexit">Continue reading...</a>

Duke of Westminster's £12bn property firm hit by London slump

Apr 25, 2017 20:43

Grosvenor Group reports worst UK performance since 2008 as Brexit and stamp duty rise cause slowdown in capital

The 26-year-old Duke of Westminster, who is believed to be the world’s richest person under 30 with a £9bn fortune, has been hit by a steep drop in returns on his family’s British property empire, which includes many of the most famous addresses in London’s Mayfair and Belgravia.

The Grosvenor Group, which Hugh Grosvenor inherited last year following the death of his father Gerald Grosvenor, reported on Tuesday that returns on its British & Irish property portfolio had collapsed to just 0.3% last year compared with 10.7% in 2015. It is the company’s worst UK performance since the 2008 financial crisis and follows six successive years of returns above 10%.

Continue reading...

<p>There’s a peculiar air to this rock at the end of Chesil Beach, best known for the stone used in buildings all over the world</p><p>W<strong>hat’s going for it?</strong> You come across bits of Portland in the most unlikely of places. Like the <a href="http://visit.un.org/">UN headquarters</a> in Manhattan, St Paul’s Cathedral or the bank on my high street. Portland stone, prized for its searing whiteness, has been used for centuries to build the most illustrious of architecture. Half of London is covered in it. Which, if you follow the thought to its logical conclusion, means that half of Portland is not. The place is pockmarked with quarries, the lingering sense of something missing adding a peculiar air to a place which already has its fair share of oddity. The position of this gigantic, 500ft-high rock, sticking out into the Channel, with a skein of pebbles connecting it to the mainland, means its streets are bathed in an end-of-the-universe light, as if perched on the prow of a ship. Its quiet small towns, with their dusty, bleached stone cottages, seem, if you squint, plucked from a corner of the Mediterranean. There’s one way in and one way out, unless you’re handy with a sail. And you share the few square miles with inmates at HM Prison Portland. Not put off? Then the Isle, my strange friend, is all yours.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> Buffeted by weather. Isolation and general weirdness: not for everyone. I miss trees (a precious commodity on this blasted isle).</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/apr/21/lets-move-portland-dorset-fair-share-oddity">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to the Isle of Portland, Dorset: ‘It has its fair share of oddity’

Apr 21, 2017 16:30

There’s a peculiar air to this rock at the end of Chesil Beach, best known for the stone used in buildings all over the world

What’s going for it? You come across bits of Portland in the most unlikely of places. Like the UN headquarters in Manhattan, St Paul’s Cathedral or the bank on my high street. Portland stone, prized for its searing whiteness, has been used for centuries to build the most illustrious of architecture. Half of London is covered in it. Which, if you follow the thought to its logical conclusion, means that half of Portland is not. The place is pockmarked with quarries, the lingering sense of something missing adding a peculiar air to a place which already has its fair share of oddity. The position of this gigantic, 500ft-high rock, sticking out into the Channel, with a skein of pebbles connecting it to the mainland, means its streets are bathed in an end-of-the-universe light, as if perched on the prow of a ship. Its quiet small towns, with their dusty, bleached stone cottages, seem, if you squint, plucked from a corner of the Mediterranean. There’s one way in and one way out, unless you’re handy with a sail. And you share the few square miles with inmates at HM Prison Portland. Not put off? Then the Isle, my strange friend, is all yours.

The case against Buffeted by weather. Isolation and general weirdness: not for everyone. I miss trees (a precious commodity on this blasted isle).

Continue reading...

<p>Once more important than neighbouring Exeter, this unpretentious town has great views and affordable property</p><p><strong>What’s going for it?</strong> Little, I’m sure, did Crediton’s citizens think, circa AD736, that their town would serve as a commuter suburb for middle managers from Exeter. Back then, before the Normans turned up, Crediton was the head honcho round these parts, the bee’s knees, with a bishop and everything. Then some cleric bozo called Leofric decided he wanted to move to Exeter to be with the cool kids, and ruined everything. Then it was all Exeter, Exeter, Exeter for the next millennium and a bit. Still, Crediton continued to thrive on wool and milk, splurging the profits on conspicuous consumption like beautiful town houses and the fabulous Church of the Holy Cross, a cathedral in all but name, to thumb a nose at its upstart neighbour. The town still has a cocky confidence that can only come from the knowledge that once upon a time it was great and that, some day, when the time is right, when Devon Armageddon threatens, when Exeter is on its knees, Crediton’s day will come again.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> You will love and hate the A377 in equal measure. There’s nothing but teeny villages between you and Exmoor, which fills your heart with either joy or dread.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/apr/14/lets-move-crediton-devon-day-will-come-again-tom-dyckhoff">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Crediton, Devon: ‘Its day will come again’

Apr 14, 2017 16:30

Once more important than neighbouring Exeter, this unpretentious town has great views and affordable property

What’s going for it? Little, I’m sure, did Crediton’s citizens think, circa AD736, that their town would serve as a commuter suburb for middle managers from Exeter. Back then, before the Normans turned up, Crediton was the head honcho round these parts, the bee’s knees, with a bishop and everything. Then some cleric bozo called Leofric decided he wanted to move to Exeter to be with the cool kids, and ruined everything. Then it was all Exeter, Exeter, Exeter for the next millennium and a bit. Still, Crediton continued to thrive on wool and milk, splurging the profits on conspicuous consumption like beautiful town houses and the fabulous Church of the Holy Cross, a cathedral in all but name, to thumb a nose at its upstart neighbour. The town still has a cocky confidence that can only come from the knowledge that once upon a time it was great and that, some day, when the time is right, when Devon Armageddon threatens, when Exeter is on its knees, Crediton’s day will come again.

The case against You will love and hate the A377 in equal measure. There’s nothing but teeny villages between you and Exmoor, which fills your heart with either joy or dread.

Continue reading...

<p>This should be boom time for Adam Smith’s home town. However…</p><p>W<strong>hat’s going for it?</strong> Were <a href="https://www.britannica.com/biography/Adam-Smith">Adam Smith</a> to be reincarnated here in his home town (as a till-worker at Lidl, perhaps) he might come to different conclusions about the free market. The wealth of nations is in short supply in Kirkcaldy today: the hidden hand of capitalism is hidden indeed and the trickle-down of good fortune to those in need is more of a dribble. Kirkcaldy has not had a good half-century or so. Its raisons d’être (linen, whaling and linoleum) are, these days, rather lacking in “être”. Yet the town has much going for it: its excellent farmers’ market, for example, or its jazzed-up centre, to say nothing of its natural assets – a beautiful sweeping bay, the craggy castle at Ravenscraig and a commutable position halfway between Edinburgh and the prettiest stretch of the Fife coast. It should be booming. But then, as Mr Smith might conclude, theory is not always borne out in reality.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> The waterfront needs some love: currently a dual carriageway fronts less than jovial postwar architecture. Local councillor Neil Crooks has pledged palm trees to bring a touch of Miami.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/apr/07/property-lets-move-to-kirkcaldy-fife">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Kirkcaldy, Fife: a beautiful bay and an excellent farmers’ market

Apr 7, 2017 16:30

This should be boom time for Adam Smith’s home town. However…

What’s going for it? Were Adam Smith to be reincarnated here in his home town (as a till-worker at Lidl, perhaps) he might come to different conclusions about the free market. The wealth of nations is in short supply in Kirkcaldy today: the hidden hand of capitalism is hidden indeed and the trickle-down of good fortune to those in need is more of a dribble. Kirkcaldy has not had a good half-century or so. Its raisons d’être (linen, whaling and linoleum) are, these days, rather lacking in “être”. Yet the town has much going for it: its excellent farmers’ market, for example, or its jazzed-up centre, to say nothing of its natural assets – a beautiful sweeping bay, the craggy castle at Ravenscraig and a commutable position halfway between Edinburgh and the prettiest stretch of the Fife coast. It should be booming. But then, as Mr Smith might conclude, theory is not always borne out in reality.

The case against The waterfront needs some love: currently a dual carriageway fronts less than jovial postwar architecture. Local councillor Neil Crooks has pledged palm trees to bring a touch of Miami.

Continue reading...

<p>A pretty town offering right-minded left-minded folk refuge from a world ruled by the orange-skinned? You couldn’t make it up…</p><p>W<strong>hat’s going for it?</strong> When you find milled flaxseeds and chia seeds next to each other on the shelf of the local Spar, I think we can safely say we have found our nirvana, don’t you think? This is a tough time for lefties. The once impossible relentlessly becomes the norm. So where can right-minded left-minded folk go for a bit of R&amp;R, where nobody will out you to <a href="http://www.breitbart.com/">breitbart.com</a> when you order hand-picked single-estate Fairtrade olives at the pub, and where political correctness is just, well, correct? Framplington, that’s where. All eyes lately have been on the People’s Republics of <a href="https://www.facebook.com/theprbh/">Brighton</a>, Bristol or Hackney as enclaves for those a bit circumspect about the free market. Under the radar, though, this pretty town has been quietly attracting escapees from Britain’s sprawling conurbations. Today the place has the knowingly shaggy demeanour of a trustafarian, the Farrow &amp; Ball of its Georgian town houses tattooed with arch, Banksy-lite graffiti, its high street weeded of all known chain stores. It all began, rumour has it, when the local manor house and estate town was bought, in the spirit of 19th-century reformers such as <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/housing-network/2012/aug/13/octavia-hill-legacy-social-housing-providers">Octavia Hill</a>, by an anonymous left-leaning sleb (there are whispers of <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/jkrowling">JK Rowling</a>, sniffs of <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/film/georgeclooney">George Clooney</a>) to create a kind of <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2008/dec/14/babington-house-somerset">Babington House</a> of the People. Who knows? One thing’s certain, though: the revolution starts here. In the tea room. Over a slab of gluten-free carrot cake and a soy latte.</p><p><strong>The case against </strong>Come on, you’d miss <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/nigel-farage">Nigel Farage</a>, wouldn’t you? <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media/piersmorgan">Piers Morgan</a>, surely? What if you crave a dirty burger? Enforced allotment tending can be back-breaking.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/apr/01/lets-move-to-framplington-suffolk-too-good-to-be-true">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Framplington, Suffolk: too good to be true

Apr 1, 2017 7:00

A pretty town offering right-minded left-minded folk refuge from a world ruled by the orange-skinned? You couldn’t make it up…

What’s going for it? When you find milled flaxseeds and chia seeds next to each other on the shelf of the local Spar, I think we can safely say we have found our nirvana, don’t you think? This is a tough time for lefties. The once impossible relentlessly becomes the norm. So where can right-minded left-minded folk go for a bit of R&R, where nobody will out you to breitbart.com when you order hand-picked single-estate Fairtrade olives at the pub, and where political correctness is just, well, correct? Framplington, that’s where. All eyes lately have been on the People’s Republics of Brighton, Bristol or Hackney as enclaves for those a bit circumspect about the free market. Under the radar, though, this pretty town has been quietly attracting escapees from Britain’s sprawling conurbations. Today the place has the knowingly shaggy demeanour of a trustafarian, the Farrow & Ball of its Georgian town houses tattooed with arch, Banksy-lite graffiti, its high street weeded of all known chain stores. It all began, rumour has it, when the local manor house and estate town was bought, in the spirit of 19th-century reformers such as Octavia Hill, by an anonymous left-leaning sleb (there are whispers of JK Rowling, sniffs of George Clooney) to create a kind of Babington House of the People. Who knows? One thing’s certain, though: the revolution starts here. In the tea room. Over a slab of gluten-free carrot cake and a soy latte.

The case against Come on, you’d miss Nigel Farage, wouldn’t you? Piers Morgan, surely? What if you crave a dirty burger? Enforced allotment tending can be back-breaking.

Continue reading...

<p>There are tile-covered cottages, porches draped in roses, enough wisteria to fill the Albert Hall and I swear I glimpsed the reincarnation of Joan Hickson </p><p>W<strong>hat’s going for it?</strong> Was it the charming assistant at <a href="https://www.henningswine.co.uk/">Hennings wine merchants</a>? The shelf-stacker in the topographical section at the bookshop? I’m still hunting for Colonel Mustard and Professor Plum, but there are plenty of plummy-voiced antiques dealers in these towns to go on my list of suspects; let alone the rum fellows I imagine conduct their affairs behind the high walls of the illustrious <a href="https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/petworth-house-and-park">stately home</a> that run through Petworth like the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/berlinwall">Berlin Wall</a>. These neighbouring towns are straight out of central casting for Miss Marple: tile-covered cottages, porches draped in roses, enough wisteria to fill the Albert Hall and I swear I glimpsed the reincarnation of <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/tvandradioblog/2012/jul/09/tv-detectives-miss-marple">Joan Hickson (<em>still </em>the definitive Jane</a> for me), picking up a korma in <a href="http://www.mystiquemasala.co.uk/index.html">Meghdoot’s</a> (“Authentic Indian Cuisine Since 1950”). Petworth lives in the shadow of The House and its Titians and Turners. Having the railway station, though, Pulborough is the more worldly of the two, the kind of place I imagine lived in, in Agatha Christie’s day, by brassy secretaries with a taste for jazz and romantic dalliances with aged wealthy widowers who should know better.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> Expensive. But you expected that, didn’t you? Too lovely for their own good. Coach parties. The looming walls of the house do rather make one feel like a peasant.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/mar/24/lets-move-to-petworth-and-pulborough-west-sussex-miss-marple">Continue reading...</a>

Petworth and Pulborough, West Sussex: straight out of Miss Marple

Mar 24, 2017 16:30

There are tile-covered cottages, porches draped in roses, enough wisteria to fill the Albert Hall and I swear I glimpsed the reincarnation of Joan Hickson

What’s going for it? Was it the charming assistant at Hennings wine merchants? The shelf-stacker in the topographical section at the bookshop? I’m still hunting for Colonel Mustard and Professor Plum, but there are plenty of plummy-voiced antiques dealers in these towns to go on my list of suspects; let alone the rum fellows I imagine conduct their affairs behind the high walls of the illustrious stately home that run through Petworth like the Berlin Wall. These neighbouring towns are straight out of central casting for Miss Marple: tile-covered cottages, porches draped in roses, enough wisteria to fill the Albert Hall and I swear I glimpsed the reincarnation of Joan Hickson (still the definitive Jane for me), picking up a korma in Meghdoot’s (“Authentic Indian Cuisine Since 1950”). Petworth lives in the shadow of The House and its Titians and Turners. Having the railway station, though, Pulborough is the more worldly of the two, the kind of place I imagine lived in, in Agatha Christie’s day, by brassy secretaries with a taste for jazz and romantic dalliances with aged wealthy widowers who should know better.

The case against Expensive. But you expected that, didn’t you? Too lovely for their own good. Coach parties. The looming walls of the house do rather make one feel like a peasant.

Continue reading...

<p>Don’t come for mod cons or fleshpots. Come for reflective quiet and red kites</p><p>W<strong>hat’s going for it?</strong> “Follow the artists”, canny home hunters always say, “they’re always a step ahead.” I beg to differ. Follow the monks. Monks, after all, were the original downshifters. Tired of the hullabaloo and poor work-pray balance of 14th-century life (and who wouldn’t be?), they had a knack of rooting out the most delightful and away-from-it-all spots on God’s Earth. Spots so lovely, one would be quite content to spend the rest of one’s life there without being tempted back to medieval Sodoms or Gomorrahs. Spots like Rhayader and the Elan valley. The landscape round here is crisscrossed by <a href="http://www.walkingworld.com/Articles/Pathways/Pathways/Monks--trods.aspx">monks’ trods</a>, holy motorways of commerce and communication between mid-Wales abbeys like <a href="http://cadw.gov.wales/daysout/strata-florida-abbey/?lang=en">Strata Florida</a>. Centuries on, you can see the attraction of the “Welsh Lake District”. Don’t come for mod cons or fleshpots. Come for reflective quiet and sublime natural beauty. Come for red kites. Though judging from the wholefood shops, organic farms and high per capita pub ratio hereabouts, it’s more craft beer spelt-eaters than spiritual gurus the valley’s attracting these days.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> Wet: bring gills. Converging trunk roads can turn Rhayader into Piccadilly Circus (ish).</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/mar/17/lets-move-rhayader-elan-valley-powys-sublime-natural-beauty">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Rhayader & the Elan valley, Powys: sublime natural beauty

Mar 17, 2017 16:30

Don’t come for mod cons or fleshpots. Come for reflective quiet and red kites

What’s going for it? “Follow the artists”, canny home hunters always say, “they’re always a step ahead.” I beg to differ. Follow the monks. Monks, after all, were the original downshifters. Tired of the hullabaloo and poor work-pray balance of 14th-century life (and who wouldn’t be?), they had a knack of rooting out the most delightful and away-from-it-all spots on God’s Earth. Spots so lovely, one would be quite content to spend the rest of one’s life there without being tempted back to medieval Sodoms or Gomorrahs. Spots like Rhayader and the Elan valley. The landscape round here is crisscrossed by monks’ trods, holy motorways of commerce and communication between mid-Wales abbeys like Strata Florida. Centuries on, you can see the attraction of the “Welsh Lake District”. Don’t come for mod cons or fleshpots. Come for reflective quiet and sublime natural beauty. Come for red kites. Though judging from the wholefood shops, organic farms and high per capita pub ratio hereabouts, it’s more craft beer spelt-eaters than spiritual gurus the valley’s attracting these days.

The case against Wet: bring gills. Converging trunk roads can turn Rhayader into Piccadilly Circus (ish).

Continue reading...

<p>It’s not cheap, but the lesser of all local property price evils</p><p>W<strong>hat’s going for it?</strong> You’ll often find me red-faced in <a href="http://ourhithergreen.com/tag/manor-house-gardens/">Manor House Gardens</a>, striding the circuit with a pushchair, shushing at any noise-emitting entity who dares come close. Hither Green is one of my prime get-the-kid-to‑sleep routes. It combines, in one handy neighbourhood, everything me and the nipper need: preprandial children’s library, postprandial ice-cream at the gardens’ cafe, an ace playground with that secret tree that all the kids climb, and an endless supply of fellow parents with whom to exchange sleep-deprived-but-knowing looks and emergency nappies, should the proverbial hit the hand drier. For, yes, there is a nice public loo, too. I am very much not alone. Hither Green is one of those plum breeding grounds for Londoners priced out of Peckham, gentrified out of Greenwich. Good schools; good train links; lovely parks; not cheap, but the lesser of all local property price evils; and ice-cream. Did I mention the ice-cream? It’s the little things, you see, that get parents through the day.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> The neighbourhood is riven in two by the railway line, practically (there are few crossing points, hence bad traffic) and in spirit.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/mar/03/lets-move-hither-green-south-east-london-tom-dyckhoff">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Hither Green, London: ‘Good schools, train links and parks’

Mar 3, 2017 16:29

It’s not cheap, but the lesser of all local property price evils

What’s going for it? You’ll often find me red-faced in Manor House Gardens, striding the circuit with a pushchair, shushing at any noise-emitting entity who dares come close. Hither Green is one of my prime get-the-kid-to‑sleep routes. It combines, in one handy neighbourhood, everything me and the nipper need: preprandial children’s library, postprandial ice-cream at the gardens’ cafe, an ace playground with that secret tree that all the kids climb, and an endless supply of fellow parents with whom to exchange sleep-deprived-but-knowing looks and emergency nappies, should the proverbial hit the hand drier. For, yes, there is a nice public loo, too. I am very much not alone. Hither Green is one of those plum breeding grounds for Londoners priced out of Peckham, gentrified out of Greenwich. Good schools; good train links; lovely parks; not cheap, but the lesser of all local property price evils; and ice-cream. Did I mention the ice-cream? It’s the little things, you see, that get parents through the day.

The case against The neighbourhood is riven in two by the railway line, practically (there are few crossing points, hence bad traffic) and in spirit.

Continue reading...

<p>These rolling hills, thatched pubs and gay towns are a long way from the nearest turmeric latte</p><p><strong>What’s going for it? </strong>We’re not in Kansas any more, Toto. This is north Devon, <em>deeeeeep</em> Devon. Far, far, far from the nearest motorway. Far, far, far from the nearest turmeric latte. You need resilience out here. Survival skills. Your role model? <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarka_the_Otter">Tarka the Otter</a>. His creator, author Henry Williamson, moved here from London to track the tough lives of local otters. Poor old Tarka suffers endless iniquities (the loss of his mum, the death of his first mate, the trials of being a young dad, fleeing hunts and facing up to his old foe, Deadlock the dog) but nothing can break his spirit.</p><p>The Torridge valley is a little less harsh for the 21st-century human. Think lush hills, thatched pubs and gay towns, such as Great Torrington, bedecked in bunting. But you’ll still need your wits about you: with mod cons so distant, Torridge denizens have learned to be resourceful. This is one of the UK’s hot spots for volunteering and community fundraising, keeping the likes of the <a href="http://www.theploughartscentre.org.uk/">Plough arts centre</a> and cinema going strong.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/feb/24/lets-move-great-torrington-torridge-valley-devon">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to the Torridge valley, Devon: ‘It’s lush’

Feb 24, 2017 16:30

These rolling hills, thatched pubs and gay towns are a long way from the nearest turmeric latte

What’s going for it? We’re not in Kansas any more, Toto. This is north Devon, deeeeeep Devon. Far, far, far from the nearest motorway. Far, far, far from the nearest turmeric latte. You need resilience out here. Survival skills. Your role model? Tarka the Otter. His creator, author Henry Williamson, moved here from London to track the tough lives of local otters. Poor old Tarka suffers endless iniquities (the loss of his mum, the death of his first mate, the trials of being a young dad, fleeing hunts and facing up to his old foe, Deadlock the dog) but nothing can break his spirit.

The Torridge valley is a little less harsh for the 21st-century human. Think lush hills, thatched pubs and gay towns, such as Great Torrington, bedecked in bunting. But you’ll still need your wits about you: with mod cons so distant, Torridge denizens have learned to be resourceful. This is one of the UK’s hot spots for volunteering and community fundraising, keeping the likes of the Plough arts centre and cinema going strong.

Continue reading...

<p>It hums with independent shops, pubs, restaurants, museums, microbreweries, an eco-suburb and even a walking festival</p><p>W<strong>hat’s going for it?</strong> As the isolated and only children know too well, when you have nobody else to talk to, you must make your own entertainment. Bishop’s Castle, all alone out near the Welsh border, has had centuries to perfect the art of entertaining yourself. This pretty town bursts with enthusiasm. There may be barely 2,000 souls here, but goodness they’re industrious. Bishop’s Castle hums with independent shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants, B&amp;Bs, two (<em>two</em>!) microbreweries, museums of rural life <em>and</em> railways, a weekly market, an eco-suburb, and I&nbsp;haven’t even got on to sports and recreation, let alone the <a href="http://walkingfestival.co.uk/">walking festival</a>. The town has long attracted alternative types, as my granny called them: artists, writers, the long-haired and crafty, the kind who can whittle the Cutty Sark from a&nbsp;twig. There was a horrifying spate of <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yarn_bombing">yarn bombing</a> last autumn. If anyone asked them, I’m sure this lot could work out Brexit after a&nbsp;community meeting or five; but, keeping itself to itself, Bishop’s Castle instead makes a perfect spot to escape the world as it self-destructs, and indulge, perhaps, in a little <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/mar/12/modern-macrame-craft-interiors-portland-emily-katz">macramé</a>.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> No castle (well, a wall). No bishop. Say goodbye to metropolitan pleasures. Far, far from anything but <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/oct/23/lets-move-to-church-stretton-shropshire-hills-tom-dyckhoff">Church Stretton</a>.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/feb/17/lets-move-to-bishops-castle-shropshire-pretty-town-enthusiasm">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire: ‘This pretty town bursts with enthusiasm’

Feb 17, 2017 16:30

It hums with independent shops, pubs, restaurants, museums, microbreweries, an eco-suburb and even a walking festival

What’s going for it? As the isolated and only children know too well, when you have nobody else to talk to, you must make your own entertainment. Bishop’s Castle, all alone out near the Welsh border, has had centuries to perfect the art of entertaining yourself. This pretty town bursts with enthusiasm. There may be barely 2,000 souls here, but goodness they’re industrious. Bishop’s Castle hums with independent shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants, B&Bs, two (two!) microbreweries, museums of rural life and railways, a weekly market, an eco-suburb, and I haven’t even got on to sports and recreation, let alone the walking festival. The town has long attracted alternative types, as my granny called them: artists, writers, the long-haired and crafty, the kind who can whittle the Cutty Sark from a twig. There was a horrifying spate of yarn bombing last autumn. If anyone asked them, I’m sure this lot could work out Brexit after a community meeting or five; but, keeping itself to itself, Bishop’s Castle instead makes a perfect spot to escape the world as it self-destructs, and indulge, perhaps, in a little macramé.

The case against No castle (well, a wall). No bishop. Say goodbye to metropolitan pleasures. Far, far from anything but Church Stretton.

Continue reading...

<p>Life on these isles is, if not simpler (have you tried getting from A to B on 70 islands?), then more elemental</p><p><strong>What’s going for it?</strong> The Orkney islands are my Plan B (though I haven’t told my wife). When all hell is breaking loose at home and post-postmodern chaos engulfs the world, when <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media/cbeebies">CBeebies</a> is cranked up to 10 and I’m tripping over the Lego, I think of Orkney. I picture myself collecting seaweed on a beach on <a href="http://www.sanday.co.uk/">Sanday</a>, staring out at a startled sheep from a little stone cottage on <a href="http://www.hoyorkney.com/">Hoy</a>, clambering over the moors to a cairn, or dancing to folk jigs at a <a href="http://www.stromnessorkney.com/">Stromness</a> inn. Life on these isles is, if not simpler (have you tried getting from A to B on 70 islands?), then more elemental. The sea is everywhere. The sky is gigantic. The people fabulous and resourceful. And they have CBeebies, too. I’m still working on Plan C.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> Remote, naturally. Better get used to wind, rain, more wind, more rain, then sunshine: the weather is wild and unpredictable. Life can be tough, and ferries and flights pricey.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/feb/10/lets-move-to-kirkwall-and-orkney">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Kirkwall and Orkney: all sea, sky and peace

Feb 10, 2017 16:30

Life on these isles is, if not simpler (have you tried getting from A to B on 70 islands?), then more elemental

What’s going for it? The Orkney islands are my Plan B (though I haven’t told my wife). When all hell is breaking loose at home and post-postmodern chaos engulfs the world, when CBeebies is cranked up to 10 and I’m tripping over the Lego, I think of Orkney. I picture myself collecting seaweed on a beach on Sanday, staring out at a startled sheep from a little stone cottage on Hoy, clambering over the moors to a cairn, or dancing to folk jigs at a Stromness inn. Life on these isles is, if not simpler (have you tried getting from A to B on 70 islands?), then more elemental. The sea is everywhere. The sky is gigantic. The people fabulous and resourceful. And they have CBeebies, too. I’m still working on Plan C.

The case against Remote, naturally. Better get used to wind, rain, more wind, more rain, then sunshine: the weather is wild and unpredictable. Life can be tough, and ferries and flights pricey.

Continue reading...

<p>My husband and I are worried about how much time we have to sell before CGT and higher rate stamp duty kick in<br></p><p><strong>Q</strong> I recently got married and we each own a flat. I was told by a friend that if we wanted to avoid capital gains tax (CGT) we would have to sell one of the flats in the first three years of getting hitched. I am thinking of selling my flat to buy a house but since we would still have his flat, would we have to pay second home stamp duty or does that come under the same three-year allowance? <br></p><p>Would we be better off selling both flats within the first three years and buying one together to avoid these massive tax penalties? Some sage advice would be most welcome as the extra 3% stamp duty would definitely have an impact on our search parameters. <strong>RR</strong></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/apr/20/newlyweds-capital-gains-tax-sell-flat-stamp-duty">Continue reading...</a>

As newlyweds, what capital gains tax will we pay if we sell one of our flats?

Apr 20, 2017 7:00

My husband and I are worried about how much time we have to sell before CGT and higher rate stamp duty kick in

Q I recently got married and we each own a flat. I was told by a friend that if we wanted to avoid capital gains tax (CGT) we would have to sell one of the flats in the first three years of getting hitched. I am thinking of selling my flat to buy a house but since we would still have his flat, would we have to pay second home stamp duty or does that come under the same three-year allowance?

Would we be better off selling both flats within the first three years and buying one together to avoid these massive tax penalties? Some sage advice would be most welcome as the extra 3% stamp duty would definitely have an impact on our search parameters. RR

Continue reading...

<p>I’m not going to live in it, but both our names will be on the mortgage<br></p><p><strong>Q</strong> I’m wondering if you could give me some help-to-buy advice. I have a help-to-buy Isa and so does my brother. We both want to get a mortgage together as we cannot afford to buy otherwise. I wanted to ask whether I would be able to use my help-to-buy Isa if I don’t live in the property with my brother? My brother would live in the property with his family. However, the mortgage would be in both our names. Any advice you can give would be very much appreciated. <strong>PJ</strong></p><p><strong>A</strong> It is a key requirement of the help-to-buy Isa that to qualify for the 25% bonus that the government adds to your Isa savings when you buy a property, you must live in it. You must also be a genuine first-time buyer, the property you buy must cost £250,000 or less (£450,000 or less in London), be purchased with a mortgage and be the only home you will own. </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/apr/13/help-to-buy-isa-property-with-brother-mortgage">Continue reading...</a>

Can I use my help-to-buy Isa to buy a property with my brother?

Apr 13, 2017 7:00

I’m not going to live in it, but both our names will be on the mortgage

Q I’m wondering if you could give me some help-to-buy advice. I have a help-to-buy Isa and so does my brother. We both want to get a mortgage together as we cannot afford to buy otherwise. I wanted to ask whether I would be able to use my help-to-buy Isa if I don’t live in the property with my brother? My brother would live in the property with his family. However, the mortgage would be in both our names. Any advice you can give would be very much appreciated. PJ

A It is a key requirement of the help-to-buy Isa that to qualify for the 25% bonus that the government adds to your Isa savings when you buy a property, you must live in it. You must also be a genuine first-time buyer, the property you buy must cost £250,000 or less (£450,000 or less in London), be purchased with a mortgage and be the only home you will own.

Continue reading...

<p>We’ve found a house that costs less than the maximum £650,000 we can afford, but it will need some work doing </p><p><strong>Q</strong> We’ve found a property that is under our current budget of what we can afford monthly (and how much the banks will lend us, which is £650,000). The problem though is that the property needs renovating and could do with an extension.<br></p><p>So as the property we have found is on sale for £550,000, and would probably need another £100,000 spending on it to do the extension and other renovation work, could we get a mortgage of £650,000 to cover the renovation or is that not possible? If not what would the best route be? <strong>RR</strong></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/apr/06/take-out-bigger-mortgage-cover-cost-renovation-homebuying">Continue reading...</a>

Can we take out a bigger mortgage to cover the cost of renovation?

Apr 6, 2017 7:00

We’ve found a house that costs less than the maximum £650,000 we can afford, but it will need some work doing

Q We’ve found a property that is under our current budget of what we can afford monthly (and how much the banks will lend us, which is £650,000). The problem though is that the property needs renovating and could do with an extension.

So as the property we have found is on sale for £550,000, and would probably need another £100,000 spending on it to do the extension and other renovation work, could we get a mortgage of £650,000 to cover the renovation or is that not possible? If not what would the best route be? RR

Continue reading...

<p>My husband and I would like to sever our joint tenancy in order to stipulate in our wills who gets our share when one of us dies</p><p><strong>Q </strong>My husband and I are considering severing our joint tenancy and becoming tenants in common. We would be doing this to protect our children’s inheritance. I believe that by doing this we can give our shares of the property to our daughters, but remain in it should either of us die. I believe this is “giving a life interest”. At the moment, being joint tenants, we have made a joint will, leaving the property to whoever survives the other, and in the event of both our deaths, to our children. There are also stipulations that each of our six grandchildren receives £10,000 when we both die, providing there is that amount left in our estate. </p><p>If we become tenants in common, do we have to update our existing will to mention giving a life interest to the surviving spouse and leaving our half of the estate to our daughters and grandchildren, as in our existing will? <strong>SMF</strong></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/mar/30/as-tenants-in-common-could-we-specify-that-our-children-inherit-our-property">Continue reading...</a>

As tenants in common, could we specify that our children inherit our property?

Mar 30, 2017 7:00

My husband and I would like to sever our joint tenancy in order to stipulate in our wills who gets our share when one of us dies

Q My husband and I are considering severing our joint tenancy and becoming tenants in common. We would be doing this to protect our children’s inheritance. I believe that by doing this we can give our shares of the property to our daughters, but remain in it should either of us die. I believe this is “giving a life interest”. At the moment, being joint tenants, we have made a joint will, leaving the property to whoever survives the other, and in the event of both our deaths, to our children. There are also stipulations that each of our six grandchildren receives £10,000 when we both die, providing there is that amount left in our estate.

If we become tenants in common, do we have to update our existing will to mention giving a life interest to the surviving spouse and leaving our half of the estate to our daughters and grandchildren, as in our existing will? SMF

Continue reading...

<p>I can afford only to rent in the area where I work, so I plan to buy a house for cash elsewhere to let to my sister</p><p><strong>Q</strong> I have a query regarding home-owning and was hoping you could help. I have rented for my whole life and have never taken out a mortgage or owned a home. I am required to stay in my rented house for my job. However, I am now in a position to buy a house in a much cheaper area for cash, which I could rent to my sister. As I won’t be taking out a mortgage, am I still required to register for self-assessment? I will use the rent I receive from my sister to pay part of the rent on the property I live in.</p><p>Of course, I know that it doesn’t seem to make sense to carry on renting myself while owning a house and letting it to another person, but I need to stay near to my work and simply could not afford to buy in the area I live. <strong>SQ </strong> </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/mar/23/do-i-need-tax-return-buy-to-let-without-a-mortgage">Continue reading...</a>

Do I need to fill out a tax return if I buy to let without a mortgage?

Mar 23, 2017 7:00

I can afford only to rent in the area where I work, so I plan to buy a house for cash elsewhere to let to my sister

Q I have a query regarding home-owning and was hoping you could help. I have rented for my whole life and have never taken out a mortgage or owned a home. I am required to stay in my rented house for my job. However, I am now in a position to buy a house in a much cheaper area for cash, which I could rent to my sister. As I won’t be taking out a mortgage, am I still required to register for self-assessment? I will use the rent I receive from my sister to pay part of the rent on the property I live in.

Of course, I know that it doesn’t seem to make sense to carry on renting myself while owning a house and letting it to another person, but I need to stay near to my work and simply could not afford to buy in the area I live. SQ

Continue reading...

<p>We would not have bought the house had we known about the damaged roof, dry rot and crack in the masonry </p><p><strong>Q</strong> What should we do about costly problems that were not indicated on our Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) homebuyer report, or in our lender’s survey?</p><p>Namely, we have had to pay for a new roof, after a roofer found and photographed it in need of severe repair. The homebuyer report said it appeared in “adequate condition for its age” and gave it a green score. Similarly, our builder has uncovered significant dry rot that has rotted a lot of the joists. The costs to repair this run into the thousands. Our report noted a leaking drainpipe (not the cause) but made no mention of damp.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/mar/16/who-should-we-complain-to-about-major-problems-not-mentioned-in-our-rics-survey">Continue reading...</a>

Our Rics survey missed major problems – can we get our money back?

Mar 16, 2017 7:00

We would not have bought the house had we known about the damaged roof, dry rot and crack in the masonry

Q What should we do about costly problems that were not indicated on our Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) homebuyer report, or in our lender’s survey?

Namely, we have had to pay for a new roof, after a roofer found and photographed it in need of severe repair. The homebuyer report said it appeared in “adequate condition for its age” and gave it a green score. Similarly, our builder has uncovered significant dry rot that has rotted a lot of the joists. The costs to repair this run into the thousands. Our report noted a leaking drainpipe (not the cause) but made no mention of damp.

Continue reading...

<p>We are buying a home for £305,000 in cash and want to know if it would be better to pay directly to the seller’s solicitor</p><p><strong>Q </strong>We are using a conveyancer to do our legal work when we buy a house for £305,000 in cash, but are concerned about the security of the funds for the purchase while they are with the firm before we complete the sale.<br>Is there a way we can send the funds directly to the seller’s solicitor to avoid this difficulty? I don’t like to ask the conveyancer as it might appear we don’t trust them. <strong>JH</strong></p><p><strong>A </strong>It’s not clear why you think your money will be safer with the seller’s solicitor than with your conveyancer. Like solicitors, licensed conveyancers – who are regulated by the Council of Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) – are required to keep a client’s money safely and separately from their business’s money, typically in a specially designated client account at a bank or building society. That way, if the business were to go bust, the money in the client account would be off limits to any creditors of the business. In addition, licensed conveyancers – again like solicitors – are required to have professional indemnity in place to protect against possible losses. They are also required to pay into a compensation fund which would pay out, for example, if the conveyancer ran off with your cash or was negligent or dishonest in some other way.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/mar/09/is-it-safe-to-pay-full-cash-amount-for-house-price-in-conveyancers-account">Continue reading...</a>

Should we hand all our house money to our conveyancer?

Mar 9, 2017 7:00

We are buying a home for £305,000 in cash and want to know if it would be better to pay directly to the seller’s solicitor

Q We are using a conveyancer to do our legal work when we buy a house for £305,000 in cash, but are concerned about the security of the funds for the purchase while they are with the firm before we complete the sale.
Is there a way we can send the funds directly to the seller’s solicitor to avoid this difficulty? I don’t like to ask the conveyancer as it might appear we don’t trust them. JH

A It’s not clear why you think your money will be safer with the seller’s solicitor than with your conveyancer. Like solicitors, licensed conveyancers – who are regulated by the Council of Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) – are required to keep a client’s money safely and separately from their business’s money, typically in a specially designated client account at a bank or building society. That way, if the business were to go bust, the money in the client account would be off limits to any creditors of the business. In addition, licensed conveyancers – again like solicitors – are required to have professional indemnity in place to protect against possible losses. They are also required to pay into a compensation fund which would pay out, for example, if the conveyancer ran off with your cash or was negligent or dishonest in some other way.

Continue reading...

<p>I’ve heard that some firms drop the price they will pay for your house at the last minute</p><p><strong>Q</strong> I am relocating this year and it could be as early as April or May, so I will need to move at quite short notice. I have no plans to return to the area, so I am thinking about the best way to sell my house quickly. Do you have any advice for me please? </p><p>I am worried about being able to sell at short notice. I don’t want to be in a position where I’m left unable to move because of things going wrong with the house sale. Would I be best off approaching a company who buys houses quickly? How do I find a reputable one?</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/mar/02/should-i-use-a-quick-property-sale-company-to-speed-up-my-move">Continue reading...</a>

Should I use a quick-property-sale company to speed up my move?

Mar 2, 2017 7:00

I’ve heard that some firms drop the price they will pay for your house at the last minute

Q I am relocating this year and it could be as early as April or May, so I will need to move at quite short notice. I have no plans to return to the area, so I am thinking about the best way to sell my house quickly. Do you have any advice for me please?

I am worried about being able to sell at short notice. I don’t want to be in a position where I’m left unable to move because of things going wrong with the house sale. Would I be best off approaching a company who buys houses quickly? How do I find a reputable one?

Continue reading...

<p>My husband and I want to finance a new kitchen and don’t want a loan refusal to tarnish our future ability to borrow </p><p><strong>Q </strong>In 2013 we bought our house on a Scottish island for £229,500 on a 16-year mortgage. I am 51, my husband 56, so we now have a mortgage for the next 12 years. The house is big but the kitchen is tiny, and we have a large family. We are thinking about having a new kitchen built and there seem to be two options. We can either build one in our dining room for about £17,000, which would look lovely. Or we can go for broke and knock down the small extension that houses our existing kitchen and loo, and build an extension with kitchen-diner, utility room and office opening on to our large garden, which would cost around £50,000. <strong tabindex="-1"> </strong></p><p>We owe £96,500 on our mortgage and, as the house is valued at £275,000, we could remortgage to fund either option. The only problem is that our credit ratings aren’t perfect. My rating is good to excellent but my affordability score is poor. My husband’s is average. We do, however, have quite a lot of personal borrowing, and are asset-rich and cash-poor, largely as a result of funding three of our kids at university, which means that credit card usage is high.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/feb/23/do-we-need-credit-check-find-out-whether-remortgage">Continue reading...</a>

Do we need a credit check to find out whether we can remortgage?

Feb 23, 2017 7:00

My husband and I want to finance a new kitchen and don’t want a loan refusal to tarnish our future ability to borrow

Q In 2013 we bought our house on a Scottish island for £229,500 on a 16-year mortgage. I am 51, my husband 56, so we now have a mortgage for the next 12 years. The house is big but the kitchen is tiny, and we have a large family. We are thinking about having a new kitchen built and there seem to be two options. We can either build one in our dining room for about £17,000, which would look lovely. Or we can go for broke and knock down the small extension that houses our existing kitchen and loo, and build an extension with kitchen-diner, utility room and office opening on to our large garden, which would cost around £50,000.

We owe £96,500 on our mortgage and, as the house is valued at £275,000, we could remortgage to fund either option. The only problem is that our credit ratings aren’t perfect. My rating is good to excellent but my affordability score is poor. My husband’s is average. We do, however, have quite a lot of personal borrowing, and are asset-rich and cash-poor, largely as a result of funding three of our kids at university, which means that credit card usage is high.

Continue reading...

You can navigate your way through what can be a long and complex process by following these steps<p>Buying a home can be a long and complex process, but typically it involves going through these steps:</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/nov/24/factsheet-buying-home-property">Continue reading...</a>

Factsheet: Buying a home

Nov 24, 2014 14:10

You can navigate your way through what can be a long and complex process by following these steps

Buying a home can be a long and complex process, but typically it involves going through these steps:

Continue reading...

'How to' guides for a wide variety of personal finance issues including: claiming benefits, taking out a loan, interest rates, buying a house, insurance, pensions, savings and tax<p><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/money/2007/oct/25/state.pensions">State pensions</a><br><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/money/2008/sep/11/taxcredits.familyfinance">Tax credits</a></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/nov/20/money-factsheets-benefits-loans-interest-rates-buying-house-insurance-pensions-savings">Continue reading...</a>

Money factsheets: How to organise your finances

Nov 20, 2013 12:35

'How to' guides for a wide variety of personal finance issues including: claiming benefits, taking out a loan, interest rates, buying a house, insurance, pensions, savings and tax

State pensions
Tax credits

Continue reading...

<p>A chance to snap up properties of historic importance in Bath, Suffolk and Warwickshire<br></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/apr/21/listed-homes-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Listed homes – in pictures

Apr 21, 2017 23:45

A chance to snap up properties of historic importance in Bath, Suffolk and Warwickshire

Continue reading...

<p>Go with the flow and renovate this piece of Cornish history<br></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/apr/21/former-water-pumping-station-newlyn-cornwall-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

A former water pumping station – in pictures

Apr 21, 2017 7:00

Go with the flow and renovate this piece of Cornish history

Continue reading...

<p>Fancy converting a charming mill or sailmakers’ house into a modern home? Here’s your chance</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/apr/19/home-and-away-renovation-projects-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Renovation projects – in pictures

Apr 19, 2017 7:00

Fancy converting a charming mill or sailmakers’ house into a modern home? Here’s your chance

Continue reading...

<p>Leave the pressures of modern life behind and become one with nature in these properties, from Cornwall to Scotland<br></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/apr/14/woodland-homes-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Woodland homes – in pictures

Apr 14, 2017 23:45

Leave the pressures of modern life behind and become one with nature in these properties, from Cornwall to Scotland

Continue reading...

<p>Once the home of a Church of England sisterhood, it’s now a plush family pad with Regent’s Park on its doorstep<br></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/apr/14/gothic-villa-religious-past-regents-park-london-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

A Gothic-style villa with a religious past – in pictures

Apr 14, 2017 7:00

Once the home of a Church of England sisterhood, it’s now a plush family pad with Regent’s Park on its doorstep

Continue reading...

<p>It will be a breeze to stay as cool as a cucumber in these properties, located from London to Florida</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/apr/12/homes-with-air-conditioning-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Homes with air conditioning – in pictures

Apr 12, 2017 10:01

It will be a breeze to stay as cool as a cucumber in these properties, located from London to Florida

Continue reading...

<p>Slough, Aylesbury and Maldon are seeing hefty price rises, and you can buy into the action with these new-build and period properties</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/apr/07/homes-in-property-hotspots-slough-aylesbury-maldon-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Homes in property hotspots – in pictures

Apr 7, 2017 23:45

Slough, Aylesbury and Maldon are seeing hefty price rises, and you can buy into the action with these new-build and period properties

Continue reading...

<p>This listed water tower needs a brave buyer in Norfolk to bathe it in glory, with planning permission to convert into a four-storey home</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/apr/07/a-towering-renovation-project-water-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

A towering renovation project – in pictures

Apr 7, 2017 7:00

This listed water tower needs a brave buyer in Norfolk to bathe it in glory, with planning permission to convert into a four-storey home

Continue reading...

<p>Use some blue-sky thinking and have a look at these high-rise houses</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/apr/05/skyscraper-homes-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Skyscraper homes – in pictures

Apr 5, 2017 7:00

Use some blue-sky thinking and have a look at these high-rise houses

Continue reading...

<p>Grow them from seed and you’ll have your own supply of cheap cut flowers</p><p>Nothing brightens up a room or makes a more personal gift than a bunch of fresh flowers. They can be costly, though – I mean really costly, both financially and environmentally. Small arrangements can easily sell from £25 (and up) from a good quality florist. Sadly, the pesticides – often used in greater amounts than on edible crops – and transport miles involved in creating these displays can be considerable, too. Dictated by the demands of the global cut-flower industry, much of this material, despite being 3D-printer perfect in appearance is also boringly uniform. With stems so straight and petals so flawless, they are indistinguishable from plastic, and smell just about as fragrant.</p><p>But if you get your species choice right, cut flowers can be among the easiest of all crops to grow. Capable of coming back year after year from just a single purchase of seed, they are far cheaper, too, some arguably free. They will have a stronger scent and longer vase life to boot. It really is win-win all round. Even if you have the smallest plot, there are options to give you months of colour and fragrance. Here are a bunch I am sowing and planting right now…</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/apr/23/grow-your-own-cut-flowers-james-wong">Continue reading...</a>

Cut flowers (almost) for free

Apr 23, 2017 6:00

Grow them from seed and you’ll have your own supply of cheap cut flowers

Nothing brightens up a room or makes a more personal gift than a bunch of fresh flowers. They can be costly, though – I mean really costly, both financially and environmentally. Small arrangements can easily sell from £25 (and up) from a good quality florist. Sadly, the pesticides – often used in greater amounts than on edible crops – and transport miles involved in creating these displays can be considerable, too. Dictated by the demands of the global cut-flower industry, much of this material, despite being 3D-printer perfect in appearance is also boringly uniform. With stems so straight and petals so flawless, they are indistinguishable from plastic, and smell just about as fragrant.

But if you get your species choice right, cut flowers can be among the easiest of all crops to grow. Capable of coming back year after year from just a single purchase of seed, they are far cheaper, too, some arguably free. They will have a stronger scent and longer vase life to boot. It really is win-win all round. Even if you have the smallest plot, there are options to give you months of colour and fragrance. Here are a bunch I am sowing and planting right now…

Continue reading...

<p>Menswear designer Simon Carter’s south London home is bursting with old stories<br></p><p><a href="http://www.simoncarter.net/">Simon Carter</a> is recounting the history of his collection of mid-century glass which glows ruby red in the spring sunshine. “All the pieces are made by Whitefriars. I find the company fascinating because there’s something quintessentially English about its rise and fall. It began in 1717 and by the mid-20th century they were producing thousands of designs. But when cheaper imports started to flood the market in the 1970s it couldn’t compete. Instead of re-inventing, it collapsed.”</p><p>The tale resonates with Carter, who may not be a household name in menswear design, but whose business has weathered two recessions with its range of Liberty shirts, trim tweeds and cufflinks. “We don’t do glossy ads or expensive shows. Ours is an unashamedly middle-class brand. We appeal to customers who don’t care about fashion, but appreciate good design,” he says. “I’m also reasonably good at business, which is where so many designers fail.”</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/apr/23/interiors-menswear-designer-simon-carter-london-home">Continue reading...</a>

Living with history in Simon Carter's home

Apr 23, 2017 6:00

Menswear designer Simon Carter’s south London home is bursting with old stories

Simon Carter is recounting the history of his collection of mid-century glass which glows ruby red in the spring sunshine. “All the pieces are made by Whitefriars. I find the company fascinating because there’s something quintessentially English about its rise and fall. It began in 1717 and by the mid-20th century they were producing thousands of designs. But when cheaper imports started to flood the market in the 1970s it couldn’t compete. Instead of re-inventing, it collapsed.”

The tale resonates with Carter, who may not be a household name in menswear design, but whose business has weathered two recessions with its range of Liberty shirts, trim tweeds and cufflinks. “We don’t do glossy ads or expensive shows. Ours is an unashamedly middle-class brand. We appeal to customers who don’t care about fashion, but appreciate good design,” he says. “I’m also reasonably good at business, which is where so many designers fail.”

Continue reading...

<p>Annual weeds are a breeze to remove, says Alys Fowler, but for perennials you’ll need to master a few tricks </p><p>It is about now that you start to realise quite how fast weeds grow. What started out as a smattering across your garden is suddenly a thicket, and although they may have looked pretty and fresh in the beginning, you may not feel quite the same way about them now. Of course, bees don’t care. Weeds are an excellent source of pollen and nectar, so one way to deal with weeds is to waft past, exclaiming you’re “creating a pollinator-friendly garden”. If that’s a recipe for madness, the kind solution is to let as many flower as you can before they set seed: it’s not always easy to time, but leaving a few dandelions in the lawn, or lifting the cutting height of the mowers so that speedwell, daisies and blue bugle (<a href="https://www.rhs.org.uk/Plants/742/Ajuga-reptans/Details"><em>Ajuga reptans</em></a><em>)</em> can flower between the grass, is simple enough.</p><p>Weeds in beds and borders fall broadly into two categories: annuals or perennials. I think of the annual weeds as good therapy – there is nothing I like more than to get into the rhythm of pulling a particular weed. You learn just how hard you must pull to get the whole plant up, roots and all, and there’s something deeply meditative about this sort of work. Those gentle spring days after a night of rain are manna for weeding: the soil is syrupy and soft, so with a gentle tug the likes of speedwell, <a href="http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/species/cleavers">cleavers</a>, young nettles, <a href="https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=782">bittercress</a> or <a href="http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/species/dogs-mercury">dog’s mercury</a> pull away from the sucking earth in such a pleasing manner.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/apr/22/alys-fowler-how-deal-with-weeds">Continue reading...</a>

How to get rid of weeds | Alys Fowler

Apr 22, 2017 11:00

Annual weeds are a breeze to remove, says Alys Fowler, but for perennials you’ll need to master a few tricks

It is about now that you start to realise quite how fast weeds grow. What started out as a smattering across your garden is suddenly a thicket, and although they may have looked pretty and fresh in the beginning, you may not feel quite the same way about them now. Of course, bees don’t care. Weeds are an excellent source of pollen and nectar, so one way to deal with weeds is to waft past, exclaiming you’re “creating a pollinator-friendly garden”. If that’s a recipe for madness, the kind solution is to let as many flower as you can before they set seed: it’s not always easy to time, but leaving a few dandelions in the lawn, or lifting the cutting height of the mowers so that speedwell, daisies and blue bugle (Ajuga reptans) can flower between the grass, is simple enough.

Weeds in beds and borders fall broadly into two categories: annuals or perennials. I think of the annual weeds as good therapy – there is nothing I like more than to get into the rhythm of pulling a particular weed. You learn just how hard you must pull to get the whole plant up, roots and all, and there’s something deeply meditative about this sort of work. Those gentle spring days after a night of rain are manna for weeding: the soil is syrupy and soft, so with a gentle tug the likes of speedwell, cleavers, young nettles, bittercress or dog’s mercury pull away from the sucking earth in such a pleasing manner.

Continue reading...

<p>Our gardening expert Alys Fowler has the answer</p><p><strong>For the first time in 40 years, my two pyracantha bushes have produced no berries. Is there a reason for this? Can it be corrected?</strong><br>Did you prune them? A hard pruning&nbsp;will mean few flowers the&nbsp;following year, because <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/gardening-blog/2017/feb/14/in-praise-of-pyracantha">pyracantha</a>, aka firethorn, flower on&nbsp;last year’s growth. If you cut them back hard at the wrong time you can unwittingly remove all the flower buds.</p><p>If you haven’t been pruning them,&nbsp;I can only think that there was poor pollination. If the spring was wet, cold or windy in the days the flowers appeared, then a lack of&nbsp;pollinators would mean no berries later on.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/apr/22/ask-alys-fowler-why-pyracantha-not-producing-berries">Continue reading...</a>

Ask Alys: why did my pyracantha fail to produce berries?

Apr 22, 2017 11:00

Our gardening expert Alys Fowler has the answer

For the first time in 40 years, my two pyracantha bushes have produced no berries. Is there a reason for this? Can it be corrected?
Did you prune them? A hard pruning will mean few flowers the following year, because pyracantha, aka firethorn, flower on last year’s growth. If you cut them back hard at the wrong time you can unwittingly remove all the flower buds.

If you haven’t been pruning them, I can only think that there was poor pollination. If the spring was wet, cold or windy in the days the flowers appeared, then a lack of pollinators would mean no berries later on.

Continue reading...

<p>Designer Alison Green wanted a garden bursting with colour from spring to autumn</p><p>Creating a garden that comes to a colourful climax in April takes some skill; continuing that colour scheme using a succession of plants right through until the first frosts takes the challenge to another level. That was the task Alison Green set herself when she moved into Theobald’s Farm near Enfield, north London, 18 years ago. The two-acre garden’s layout and design is all her work, barring the path trampled through a border by her English setter.</p><p>Green’s background as a garden designer is apparent in her clever arrangement of the plot. Her challenge was how to create a garden from a large plot with a house sitting in one corner. So she has divided the sloping, south-facing garden into different levels using yew hedging to create distinct garden rooms, each with its own dominant colour and style.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/apr/22/theobalds-farm-scrappy-field-vibrant-outdoor-space">Continue reading...</a>

Turning Theobald’s Farm from scrappy field to vibrant outdoor space

Apr 22, 2017 11:00

Designer Alison Green wanted a garden bursting with colour from spring to autumn

Creating a garden that comes to a colourful climax in April takes some skill; continuing that colour scheme using a succession of plants right through until the first frosts takes the challenge to another level. That was the task Alison Green set herself when she moved into Theobald’s Farm near Enfield, north London, 18 years ago. The two-acre garden’s layout and design is all her work, barring the path trampled through a border by her English setter.

Green’s background as a garden designer is apparent in her clever arrangement of the plot. Her challenge was how to create a garden from a large plot with a house sitting in one corner. So she has divided the sloping, south-facing garden into different levels using yew hedging to create distinct garden rooms, each with its own dominant colour and style.

Continue reading...

<p>It feels so recklessly profligate that I’m disappointed when the bill comes to only £60</p><p>It is Friday evening. An estate agent has just left, having brought some people round for a second viewing, and my wife is staring out of the back window. “We should go to that garden centre tomorrow,” she says. “We need a few things.”</p><p>“Gardening?” I say. “I’m not gardening.”</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/apr/22/tim-dowling-moving-house-spending-money-on-the-garden">Continue reading...</a>

Tim Dowling: the house is for sale, so why are we spending money on the garden?

Apr 22, 2017 6:00

It feels so recklessly profligate that I’m disappointed when the bill comes to only £60

It is Friday evening. An estate agent has just left, having brought some people round for a second viewing, and my wife is staring out of the back window. “We should go to that garden centre tomorrow,” she says. “We need a few things.”

“Gardening?” I say. “I’m not gardening.”

Continue reading...

<p>Serve up a seasonal treat on these glorious platters </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/gallery/2017/apr/21/the-10-best-spring-platters-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

The 10 best spring platters – in pictures

Apr 21, 2017 16:30

Serve up a seasonal treat on these glorious platters

Continue reading...

<p>Consumer group finds products such as gin, Toblerone and Lego cheaper in supermarkets or online</p><p>Bargain airport prices for favourites such as gin and Toblerone are now likely to be cheaper at the supermarket, Which? has found.<br></p><p>A 360g bar of Toblerone cost £4 at Bristol World Duty Free but £3 at Asda, while a 70cl bottle of Tanqueray gin cost £18 at Heathrow Terminal 2 and £15 at Morrisons, the consumer group found.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/apr/26/airport-duty-free-prices-not-always-cheapest-says-which">Continue reading...</a>

Airport duty-free prices not always cheapest, says Which?

Apr 26, 2017 7:00

Consumer group finds products such as gin, Toblerone and Lego cheaper in supermarkets or online

Bargain airport prices for favourites such as gin and Toblerone are now likely to be cheaper at the supermarket, Which? has found.

A 360g bar of Toblerone cost £4 at Bristol World Duty Free but £3 at Asda, while a 70cl bottle of Tanqueray gin cost £18 at Heathrow Terminal 2 and £15 at Morrisons, the consumer group found.

Continue reading...

My daughter’s Young Savers account with more than £3,000 in it just disappeared<p><strong>I recently noticed that my daughter’s Young Savers account, which was attached to my NatWest accounts, had disappeared from my online banking page. On calling the bank, I was told the account didn’t exist. Luckily, I managed to dig out an old statement, at which point NatWest agreed that it had existed but had been closed due to inactivity. </strong></p><p><strong>The £3,161.66 that was in it had been withheld by the bank. I received no notification of this and the bank was unable to provide even basic information as to why the account was closed, or why the funds were not repaid. If I’d not been on the ball, I suspect the lost funds would have simply gone unnoticed! Is the Royal Bank of Scotland so desperate that it needs to take money from a seven-year-old?</strong> <em>PL, Hounslow, Middlesex</em></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/apr/26/natwest-young-savers-account-closed-without-warning">Continue reading...</a>

NatWest closed my child’s savings account without telling me

Apr 26, 2017 7:00

My daughter’s Young Savers account with more than £3,000 in it just disappeared

I recently noticed that my daughter’s Young Savers account, which was attached to my NatWest accounts, had disappeared from my online banking page. On calling the bank, I was told the account didn’t exist. Luckily, I managed to dig out an old statement, at which point NatWest agreed that it had existed but had been closed due to inactivity.

The £3,161.66 that was in it had been withheld by the bank. I received no notification of this and the bank was unable to provide even basic information as to why the account was closed, or why the funds were not repaid. If I’d not been on the ball, I suspect the lost funds would have simply gone unnoticed! Is the Royal Bank of Scotland so desperate that it needs to take money from a seven-year-old? PL, Hounslow, Middlesex

Continue reading...

<p>Snap general election forces ministers to ditch controversial plan to slash the tax-free dividend allowance in order to ensure safe passage of bill</p><p>A planned tax raid affecting more than two million people is one of several measures that have been dropped by the government as the general election draws near, it emerged today.<br></p><p>The decision to hold a snap election on 8 June means ministers are having to rush through legislation before parliament closes for business, and as a result ministers have effectively ditched the majority of the finance bill in a bid to ensure it gets through.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/apr/25/tax-raid-postponed-ministers-rush-through-finance-bill-snap-general-election">Continue reading...</a>

Tax raid postponed as ministers rush through finance bill

Apr 25, 2017 17:42

Snap general election forces ministers to ditch controversial plan to slash the tax-free dividend allowance in order to ensure safe passage of bill

A planned tax raid affecting more than two million people is one of several measures that have been dropped by the government as the general election draws near, it emerged today.

The decision to hold a snap election on 8 June means ministers are having to rush through legislation before parliament closes for business, and as a result ministers have effectively ditched the majority of the finance bill in a bid to ensure it gets through.

Continue reading...

<p>The ONS Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings lists the UK’s highest salaried careers. If you fancy one of the Top 10 jobs, we have tips on how to do it<br></p><p>Have you got one of the best paid jobs in the UK? <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/oct/26/weekly-uk-earnings-rose-2015-biggest-increase-since-financial-crash">The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has released its Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2016</a>, and we’ve looked at the top 10 highest paid jobs in the country and what you need to do to get one of them. </p><p>To obtain the data, the ONS surveyed a random sample of 1% of all the workers who carry out each occupation, using 2015/2016 pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) tax records. </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/oct/31/highest-paid-jobs-2016-ons-annual-survey-hours-earnings">Continue reading...</a>

What are the highest paid jobs of 2016 in the UK?

Oct 31, 2016 14:10

The ONS Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings lists the UK’s highest salaried careers. If you fancy one of the Top 10 jobs, we have tips on how to do it

Have you got one of the best paid jobs in the UK? The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has released its Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2016, and we’ve looked at the top 10 highest paid jobs in the country and what you need to do to get one of them.

To obtain the data, the ONS surveyed a random sample of 1% of all the workers who carry out each occupation, using 2015/2016 pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) tax records.

Continue reading...

<p>A Which? report this week looking at what retired people spend should give hope to the early middle-aged who have saved nothing yet</p><p>The press is chock-full of stories about our impending financial doom in retirement. I should know – I’ve written a fair few of them. Demographic timebomb … Equitable Life … mis-sellling … payouts slashed … work ’til you drop. You know the picture. But are we guilty of our own bit of mis-selling? Two reports out this week paint a picture of our retirement prospects that suggest that, with a nudge and push, most people should be able to enjoy a comfortable retirement.</p><p>Let’s say you are 40 years old and neither you, nor your partner, have saved a penny for your later years. Disaster looms, you think, because of the impossibly high sums you have to put aside when you are already struggling with the mortgage, rent, children, car loan and so on. But the truth is, a 40-year-old need put just £40 a week aside – or as little as £8 a working day. Or little more than three coffees from Pret.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/blog/2017/apr/22/save-40-a-week-retirement-which-report">Continue reading...</a>

Put just £40 a week aside to enjoy a happy retirement

Apr 22, 2017 7:00

A Which? report this week looking at what retired people spend should give hope to the early middle-aged who have saved nothing yet

The press is chock-full of stories about our impending financial doom in retirement. I should know – I’ve written a fair few of them. Demographic timebomb … Equitable Life … mis-sellling … payouts slashed … work ’til you drop. You know the picture. But are we guilty of our own bit of mis-selling? Two reports out this week paint a picture of our retirement prospects that suggest that, with a nudge and push, most people should be able to enjoy a comfortable retirement.

Let’s say you are 40 years old and neither you, nor your partner, have saved a penny for your later years. Disaster looms, you think, because of the impossibly high sums you have to put aside when you are already struggling with the mortgage, rent, children, car loan and so on. But the truth is, a 40-year-old need put just £40 a week aside – or as little as £8 a working day. Or little more than three coffees from Pret.

Continue reading...

A defective alarm system I didn’t even have a contract for made 958 test calls in one month, costing me £97<p><strong>I read a piece from you dating back to 2014 regarding regular ADT daily call costs arising from testing a domestic alarm system. I believe my problem might be bigger. In one month (mid-January to mid-February) it called/tested the alarm a staggering 958 times (at a cost of £97), which was clearly an error as I don’t even have a contract with them. I only knew this was ADT when I investigated the unexplained charges on my telephone bill. </strong></p><p><strong>My landlady, who lived in the property some years ago, had an ADT alarm account but not since 2011. After I chased this up, ADT emailed me confirming I have no contract with it but insisting that the matter was now closed and I had no right to reimbursement from my telephone provider. </strong><em>AH, London</em></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/apr/25/automated-phone-calls-burglar-alarm-adt-phone-bill">Continue reading...</a>

Automated phone calls to ADT landed me with an alarming bill

Apr 25, 2017 6:59

A defective alarm system I didn’t even have a contract for made 958 test calls in one month, costing me £97

I read a piece from you dating back to 2014 regarding regular ADT daily call costs arising from testing a domestic alarm system. I believe my problem might be bigger. In one month (mid-January to mid-February) it called/tested the alarm a staggering 958 times (at a cost of £97), which was clearly an error as I don’t even have a contract with them. I only knew this was ADT when I investigated the unexplained charges on my telephone bill.

My landlady, who lived in the property some years ago, had an ADT alarm account but not since 2011. After I chased this up, ADT emailed me confirming I have no contract with it but insisting that the matter was now closed and I had no right to reimbursement from my telephone provider. AH, London

Continue reading...

<p>The capital’s waterways give a growing number of residents affordable berths</p><p>Richard Hagan knows exactly why he likes living on a narrowboat on London’s canals. “It’s the sense of community. You can ask anybody around you, at any particular time, for anything, and they will happily help you out.”<br></p><p>The 32-year-old South African bought his 36ft-narrowboat six years ago for £14,000 as a way out of London’s rental trap. “My parents cashed in some shares and gave me the money to buy outright. I went from paying £80 a week in rent and sharing a room with a friend in Finsbury Park to having my own place.”</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/apr/24/canals-alternative-london-property-ladder">Continue reading...</a>

Canals offer alternative to London property ladder

Apr 24, 2017 9:56

The capital’s waterways give a growing number of residents affordable berths

Richard Hagan knows exactly why he likes living on a narrowboat on London’s canals. “It’s the sense of community. You can ask anybody around you, at any particular time, for anything, and they will happily help you out.”

The 32-year-old South African bought his 36ft-narrowboat six years ago for £14,000 as a way out of London’s rental trap. “My parents cashed in some shares and gave me the money to buy outright. I went from paying £80 a week in rent and sharing a room with a friend in Finsbury Park to having my own place.”

Continue reading...

<p>Train operator says I must send in the new tickets I had to buy on the train, but the barrier retained them when we returned home</p><p><strong>In January my wife and I and three daughters travelled to Euston from Chester for a weekend in London. We bought tickets in December by phone from the Llandrindod Wells ticket office, which were posted to us. </strong></p><p><strong>On the day of travel we realised we had left our family railcard at home and had to pay £293.65 for new tickets to the helpful train manager. It was explained that we would need to contact Virgin and demonstrate we had a valid card to get a refund. </strong></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/apr/24/virgin-trains-refuses-refund-ticket-forgot-railcard">Continue reading...</a>

Virgin Trains refused to refund £293 after I forgot my railcard

Apr 24, 2017 6:59

Train operator says I must send in the new tickets I had to buy on the train, but the barrier retained them when we returned home

In January my wife and I and three daughters travelled to Euston from Chester for a weekend in London. We bought tickets in December by phone from the Llandrindod Wells ticket office, which were posted to us.

On the day of travel we realised we had left our family railcard at home and had to pay £293.65 for new tickets to the helpful train manager. It was explained that we would need to contact Virgin and demonstrate we had a valid card to get a refund.

Continue reading...

Sales are falling. Older cars are facing bans. Next week’s budget could see taxes slapped on. We explore the future for the owners of these high-polluting vehicles<p>Is this the nightmare future for owners of today’s diesel cars? It’s 2020 and you are already taxed out of driving into the city centre. At the pumps the price of diesel has soared. The low-emission zone has extended to your suburb. Do you carry on paying extra, or sell for a small fraction of what you paid?</p><p>The mayor of London has effectively banned older diesel cars from central London from next October, and the same drivers face a wider ban from a larger area, possibly as soon as 2019. Meanwhile, a report this week by the mayor’s office proposed higher parking charges for diesel owners across the capital.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/mar/04/diesel-environment-ban-tax-duty-emissions-values">Continue reading...</a>

Will the diesel car you are driving today be worthless in five years’ time?

Mar 4, 2017 7:00

Sales are falling. Older cars are facing bans. Next week’s budget could see taxes slapped on. We explore the future for the owners of these high-polluting vehicles

Is this the nightmare future for owners of today’s diesel cars? It’s 2020 and you are already taxed out of driving into the city centre. At the pumps the price of diesel has soared. The low-emission zone has extended to your suburb. Do you carry on paying extra, or sell for a small fraction of what you paid?

The mayor of London has effectively banned older diesel cars from central London from next October, and the same drivers face a wider ban from a larger area, possibly as soon as 2019. Meanwhile, a report this week by the mayor’s office proposed higher parking charges for diesel owners across the capital.

Continue reading...

<p>Amounts demanded by sellers are up by 2.2% year-on-year across England and Wales, according to Rightmove </p><p>The housing market continues to defy fears of a post-referendum slump after sellers’ asking prices hit a new record high of more than £313,000 on average in April.</p><p>Across England and Wales, the average price tag on a property being put on the market increased by £3,547 – or 1.1% month-on-month – to reach £313,655. </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/apr/24/asking-prices-for-homes-rise-to-record-average-of-313655">Continue reading...</a>

Asking prices for homes rise to record average of £313,655

Apr 24, 2017 7:00

Amounts demanded by sellers are up by 2.2% year-on-year across England and Wales, according to Rightmove

The housing market continues to defy fears of a post-referendum slump after sellers’ asking prices hit a new record high of more than £313,000 on average in April.

Across England and Wales, the average price tag on a property being put on the market increased by £3,547 – or 1.1% month-on-month – to reach £313,655.

Continue reading...

Treasury figures reveal how much the top 10% earn, the bottom 10% – and the people in the middle<p>The top 10% of earners in Britain have salaries which are equal to more than the bottom 40% of earners combined, according to <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/293738/budget_2014_distributional_analysis.pdf" title="">figures in budget papers (pdf)</a> released by the Treasury.</p><p>The top decile of single adults earn a median income of £60,500, compared to just £8,600 among the bottom decile. For a couple with two children, the median income of the top 10% is £151,400, compared to £19,700 in the lowest decile.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/mar/25/uk-incomes-how-salary-compare">Continue reading...</a>

UK incomes: how does your salary compare?

Mar 25, 2014 12:58

Treasury figures reveal how much the top 10% earn, the bottom 10% – and the people in the middle

The top 10% of earners in Britain have salaries which are equal to more than the bottom 40% of earners combined, according to figures in budget papers (pdf) released by the Treasury.

The top decile of single adults earn a median income of £60,500, compared to just £8,600 among the bottom decile. For a couple with two children, the median income of the top 10% is £151,400, compared to £19,700 in the lowest decile.

Continue reading...

<p>The fact that Hugh Grosvenor’s estate is held in a trust means that his £9bn inheritance is likely to remain largely intact</p><p>Had the Grosvenor estate bequeathed to the new Duke of Westminster been liable for 40% inheritance tax, the amount owed to the Treasury would have been not far off the government’s entire death duty take for the last financial year.</p><p>Hugh Grosvenor, however, avoids a significant cut to his £9bn inheritance <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/aug/10/grosvenor-estate-structure-protects-fortune-from-hmrc">because the estate is held in a trust</a>. </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/aug/11/inheritance-tax-why-the-new-duke-of-westminster-will-not-pay-billions">Continue reading...</a>

Inheritance tax: why the new Duke of Westminster will not pay billions

Aug 11, 2016 15:37

The fact that Hugh Grosvenor’s estate is held in a trust means that his £9bn inheritance is likely to remain largely intact

Had the Grosvenor estate bequeathed to the new Duke of Westminster been liable for 40% inheritance tax, the amount owed to the Treasury would have been not far off the government’s entire death duty take for the last financial year.

Hugh Grosvenor, however, avoids a significant cut to his £9bn inheritance because the estate is held in a trust.

Continue reading...

I received a text to attend an interview in 20 minutes at a venue miles away<p><strong>I was made redundant and filled in an online claim for jobseeker’s allowance. The website says you must attend an interview and that a text will be sent telling you when it will be. It also warns that the interview could be on the same day as you receive the text. That’s not a problem as my nearest Jobcentreplus is 10 miles away. </strong></p><p><strong>But when the text came it told me to report to Plymouth Jobcentreplus in 20 minutes. Plymouth is an hour’s drive away. Realising that my lack of superpowers might cost me the allowance, I spent 20 minutes on hold on the 3p-a-minute phone number given in the text. An adviser rescheduled the appointment for the next day, but said venues were allocated by postcode so it had to be Plymouth. </strong></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/apr/20/hours-drive-jobseekers-claim-interview">Continue reading...</a>

Sent on an hour’s drive in pursuit of jobseeker’s claim

Apr 20, 2017 7:00

I received a text to attend an interview in 20 minutes at a venue miles away

I was made redundant and filled in an online claim for jobseeker’s allowance. The website says you must attend an interview and that a text will be sent telling you when it will be. It also warns that the interview could be on the same day as you receive the text. That’s not a problem as my nearest Jobcentreplus is 10 miles away.

But when the text came it told me to report to Plymouth Jobcentreplus in 20 minutes. Plymouth is an hour’s drive away. Realising that my lack of superpowers might cost me the allowance, I spent 20 minutes on hold on the 3p-a-minute phone number given in the text. An adviser rescheduled the appointment for the next day, but said venues were allocated by postcode so it had to be Plymouth.

Continue reading...

Should you sell it, scrap it, or give it away? Getting rid of an old car is not as easy as it seems<p>I have only ever owned two cars, and a thief relieved me of the last one. So when it came to saying goodbye to my defunct 13-year-old Alfa estate, lying abandoned with a dead battery outside my house since November, I realised I had no idea how to actually get rid of a vehicle. Could I sell it? Scrap it? Give it away?</p><p>Every year in Britain between six and seven million used cars are sold, and two million are scrapped. The EU has introduced strict environmental rules on how cars should be disposed of through its End of Life Vehicle Directive, while new rules designed to combat copper and other metal theft have had the curious impact of making it illegal for car owners to be paid cash when scrapping a vehicle.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/feb/14/getting-rid-old-car-scrap">Continue reading...</a>

Do's and don'ts of getting rid of your old car

Feb 14, 2014 9:57

Should you sell it, scrap it, or give it away? Getting rid of an old car is not as easy as it seems

I have only ever owned two cars, and a thief relieved me of the last one. So when it came to saying goodbye to my defunct 13-year-old Alfa estate, lying abandoned with a dead battery outside my house since November, I realised I had no idea how to actually get rid of a vehicle. Could I sell it? Scrap it? Give it away?

Every year in Britain between six and seven million used cars are sold, and two million are scrapped. The EU has introduced strict environmental rules on how cars should be disposed of through its End of Life Vehicle Directive, while new rules designed to combat copper and other metal theft have had the curious impact of making it illegal for car owners to be paid cash when scrapping a vehicle.

Continue reading...

<p>Lenders report 42% fall in loans to landlords as tax changes begin to bite</p><p>Buy-to-let landlords are finally in retreat in the housing market, leaving young adults in a better position to buy a property, according to the latest data from mortgage lenders.</p><p>The Council of Mortgage Lenders said lending in March was £21.4bn, down 19% on the year before, almost entirely due to landlords withdrawing from the market. A double whammy of tighter Bank of England lending rules, which have forced banks and building societies to insist on greater rental cover and higher deposits, plus new taxes on rental income, has made buy-to-let far less financially attractive.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/apr/22/buy-to-let-slump-first-time-buyers-drivers-seat-lenders-loans-landlords">Continue reading...</a>

Buy-to-let slump puts first-time buyers in the driver’s seat

Apr 22, 2017 6:59

Lenders report 42% fall in loans to landlords as tax changes begin to bite

Buy-to-let landlords are finally in retreat in the housing market, leaving young adults in a better position to buy a property, according to the latest data from mortgage lenders.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders said lending in March was £21.4bn, down 19% on the year before, almost entirely due to landlords withdrawing from the market. A double whammy of tighter Bank of England lending rules, which have forced banks and building societies to insist on greater rental cover and higher deposits, plus new taxes on rental income, has made buy-to-let far less financially attractive.

Continue reading...

<p>My work canteen closed and I’ve had to eat ham sandwiches every day for a month – now I need quick and healthy recipe ideas</p><p><strong>Every week a Guardian Money reader submits a question, and it’s up to you to help him or her out – a selection of the best answers will appear in next Saturday’s paper.</strong></p><p>This week’s question:</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/blog/2017/apr/21/healthy-cheap-packed-lunch-recipe-ideas-work-canteen-closed">Continue reading...</a>

How can I bring back some joy to my lunches for under £2.50 a day?

Apr 21, 2017 7:00

My work canteen closed and I’ve had to eat ham sandwiches every day for a month – now I need quick and healthy recipe ideas

Every week a Guardian Money reader submits a question, and it’s up to you to help him or her out – a selection of the best answers will appear in next Saturday’s paper.

This week’s question:

Continue reading...

<p>Ministry of Justice says snap election means plan to increase fees to as much as £20,000 would not be completed in time<br></p><p>The government has dropped plans to sharply increase probate fees before the election, raising the possibility that the proposals could be dropped altogether.</p><p>The controversial Ministry of Justice scheme to raise £300m a year extra on the fees by charging up to £20,000 for large estates was authorised by the justice secretary, Liz Truss. </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/apr/21/government-drops-plan-to-raise-probate-fees">Continue reading...</a>

UK government drops plan to raise probate fees

Apr 21, 2017 10:49

Ministry of Justice says snap election means plan to increase fees to as much as £20,000 would not be completed in time

The government has dropped plans to sharply increase probate fees before the election, raising the possibility that the proposals could be dropped altogether.

The controversial Ministry of Justice scheme to raise £300m a year extra on the fees by charging up to £20,000 for large estates was authorised by the justice secretary, Liz Truss.

Continue reading...

<p>‘Triple-lock’ policy that guarantees increase in basic state pension each year could be ditched for weaker ‘double lock’ and money used for social care instead</p><p>Theresa May is seriously considering replacing the “triple lock”, which guarantees a minimum increase in the state pension each year, with a less generous “double lock”, and spending some of the money saved on social care.</p><p>The existing system guarantees that the basic state pension will increase each year by whichever is the largest of inflation, average earnings, or 2.5%, but it has become expensive to fund during a period when prices and wages growth have been low.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/apr/26/theresa-may-considering-scrapping-triple-lock-on-pensions">Continue reading...</a>

Theresa May weighing up cheaper 'double lock' for pensions

Apr 26, 2017 22:00

‘Triple-lock’ policy that guarantees increase in basic state pension each year could be ditched for weaker ‘double lock’ and money used for social care instead

Theresa May is seriously considering replacing the “triple lock”, which guarantees a minimum increase in the state pension each year, with a less generous “double lock”, and spending some of the money saved on social care.

The existing system guarantees that the basic state pension will increase each year by whichever is the largest of inflation, average earnings, or 2.5%, but it has become expensive to fund during a period when prices and wages growth have been low.

Continue reading...

&nbsp;<p>Ian Jack engagingly highlights the massive inequality being created by the inheritance of property (<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/22/property-inequality-inheritance-homeowning-generations" title="">Property feeds the roots of inequality in Britain</a>, 22 April), but does not say what can be done about it. Inheritance tax would be a good idea if people paid it, but they mostly don’t. There is an abundance of advice online and in the press on how to avoid IHT quite legally. The richest landowners would be foolish not to take advantage of these exceptions. On the other hand, a tax on the value of land cannot be avoided, yet despite centuries of intelligent discussion from all points of the political compass it has not surfaced as a headline policy option for over a century. There are technical puzzles around registration and valuation to be argued over, but the real obstacle is political. People who own the most valuable land would have to pay more than they currently do in council or inheritance taxes. Between 1909 and 1914 the landed gentry, in the form of the House of Lords, effectively sabotaged an attempt to introduce LVT by the then Liberal government’s chancellor, David Lloyd George. In the most polarised election for decades, his words should inspire the Liberal Democrats and Labour now: “a fully-equipped duke costs as much to keep up as two dreadnoughts, but is much less easy to scrap”.<br><strong>Dr Sebastian Kraemer</strong><br><em>London</em></p><p>• Ian Jack gives us an excellent account of the unfair wealth windfall being accrued by older homeowners and passed on to their children and grandchildren. I’m surprised he doesn’t mention the Tory rules that were just made operational this April 2017, which mean you could pay even less inheritance tax if you’re leaving property to a family member. Hardly any media pointed out the effect this will have on increasing inequality via property, mainly because the vast majority of homeowners are quite happy to go along with it. Jeremy Corbyn says the Labour party would fund a £10-a-week rise to the carer’s allowance by reversing this inheritance tax cut, but how many potential Labour voters who are also homeowners will support this? Where is our sense of social justice?<br><strong>Mary Ann Hooper</strong><br><em>Wirksworth, Derbyshire</em></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/apr/26/reform-property-laws-to-reduce-inequality">Continue reading...</a>

Reform property laws to reduce inequality | Letters

Apr 26, 2017 18:59

 

Ian Jack engagingly highlights the massive inequality being created by the inheritance of property (Property feeds the roots of inequality in Britain, 22 April), but does not say what can be done about it. Inheritance tax would be a good idea if people paid it, but they mostly don’t. There is an abundance of advice online and in the press on how to avoid IHT quite legally. The richest landowners would be foolish not to take advantage of these exceptions. On the other hand, a tax on the value of land cannot be avoided, yet despite centuries of intelligent discussion from all points of the political compass it has not surfaced as a headline policy option for over a century. There are technical puzzles around registration and valuation to be argued over, but the real obstacle is political. People who own the most valuable land would have to pay more than they currently do in council or inheritance taxes. Between 1909 and 1914 the landed gentry, in the form of the House of Lords, effectively sabotaged an attempt to introduce LVT by the then Liberal government’s chancellor, David Lloyd George. In the most polarised election for decades, his words should inspire the Liberal Democrats and Labour now: “a fully-equipped duke costs as much to keep up as two dreadnoughts, but is much less easy to scrap”.
Dr Sebastian Kraemer
London

• Ian Jack gives us an excellent account of the unfair wealth windfall being accrued by older homeowners and passed on to their children and grandchildren. I’m surprised he doesn’t mention the Tory rules that were just made operational this April 2017, which mean you could pay even less inheritance tax if you’re leaving property to a family member. Hardly any media pointed out the effect this will have on increasing inequality via property, mainly because the vast majority of homeowners are quite happy to go along with it. Jeremy Corbyn says the Labour party would fund a £10-a-week rise to the carer’s allowance by reversing this inheritance tax cut, but how many potential Labour voters who are also homeowners will support this? Where is our sense of social justice?
Mary Ann Hooper
Wirksworth, Derbyshire

Continue reading...

<p>Without manifesto ideas for ‘resetting’ the market, the government’s proposals are just shameless headline-grabbing</p><p>The Conservative party’s <a draggable="true" href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/apr/24/conservative-energy-bill-cap-dents-company-share-prices">proposed price cap on energy bills</a> is “very different” from <a draggable="true" href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/marketforceslive/2013/sep/25/centrica-sse-labour-miliband-price-freeze">the price freeze advocated by Ed Miliband</a> at the last general election, according to Sir Michael Fallon, the defence secretary and former energy minister. Really? In their initial impact, the two policies look almost identical.</p><p>Fallon’s thin argument is that a cap is more flexible because it would allow tariffs to be cut when the wholesale price of energy fell. That is a gross misrepresentation of the final version of Miliband’s proposal, which was tweaked to take account of falling wholesale prices. As the former Labour leader pointed out, his party’s manifesto at the 2015 general election was clear: “Labour will freeze energy bills until 2017, ensuring that bills can fall but not rise.”</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/apr/24/labour-energy-price-cap-tories-manifesto">Continue reading...</a>

Tories pinched Labour's energy price cap – but now we need detail | Nils Pratley

Apr 25, 2017 12:45

Without manifesto ideas for ‘resetting’ the market, the government’s proposals are just shameless headline-grabbing

The Conservative party’s proposed price cap on energy bills is “very different” from the price freeze advocated by Ed Miliband at the last general election, according to Sir Michael Fallon, the defence secretary and former energy minister. Really? In their initial impact, the two policies look almost identical.

Fallon’s thin argument is that a cap is more flexible because it would allow tariffs to be cut when the wholesale price of energy fell. That is a gross misrepresentation of the final version of Miliband’s proposal, which was tweaked to take account of falling wholesale prices. As the former Labour leader pointed out, his party’s manifesto at the 2015 general election was clear: “Labour will freeze energy bills until 2017, ensuring that bills can fall but not rise.”

Continue reading...

Switch regions:  Ireland | United Kingdom | Australia
Copyright © 2016  DaftDrop.com | Designed & maintained by Certak Ltd