Money in the news and how you are going to pay and pay and pay
IT’S taken its time but the basic problem with the UK housing market seems to be seeping into even Labour Party minds. That problem being that there’s not enough housing so it’s too bloody expansive. We should therefore try to build more. As the Labour Party’s head of their investigation into the housing market says:
Sir Michael Lyons told the Guardian he had identified protracted delays in the release of land as the single biggest cause of Britain’s housing crisis.
This is all really very simple. There’s no shortage of land in the UK. Only about 3% of it is houses at the moment: in some counties we have more than that in use as golf courses than we do houses.
DESPITE what The Guardian would love to be able to tell us it simply isn’t true that poverty has doubled in the past 30 years. Inequality has increased, that’s true, but poverty and inequality are not the same thing:
Poverty hits twice as many British households as 30 years ago
The UK economy has doubled in size since the early 1980s – yet the number of those suffering below-minimum living standards has grown by more than twice, a study claims
That’s what the paper would like us to believe. But it hasn’t actually happened that way.
STING, as we know, is an incredibly smug man. Not surprising really, given that he’s got shedloads of money, a talented and “occasional aviation-fuel” using wife and everyone thinks he’s really good at the sex. It’d be nigh-on impossible not to think highly of yourself if you take all that into consideration.
However, his kids might not think much of him as he’s showing them the meaning of money and achievement by cutting them out of his will.
Sting’s sat on £180m and he doesn’t want his children to have it.
THERE’S another report out detailing what’s wrong with the current system of inheritance tax in the UK. And this report gets right to the heart of what’s actually wrong with this current system. Which is that the rich bastards don’t actually pay it while anyone who owns a house in London does. It’s not actually a tax upon the rich: it’s a tax upon the middle class:
People with estates worth many millions are able to avoid the brunt of inheritance tax through complex schemes, including moving the cash offshore or investing in agricultural land and small business shares. Those avenues are closed to “moderately well–off” people whose only assets are their home and pension, Mr Johnson said.
Oh yes, everyone thinks that if you have a lot of dosh when you pop your clogs then the State gets 40% of it5. But that’s not actually how it works. Farmland for example: no inheritance tax upon that. So multi-millionaires make sure they buy a large farm or two which the kiddies then get tax free: and, of course, sell after a year or two and make off with their bundle. Small company shares also do not pay inheritance tax. So owning a company worth a few millions pays no tax. There’s endless other ones like this. If you’re rich enough to hand over the estate 7 years before you die then there’s no tax to pay either. And those are all entirely legal. Without even mentioning the idea of buggering off abroad so that the British taxman can be told to go take a hike.
THE Dispatches team over at Channel 4 has uncovered shocking evidence of the way that Perrier is woefully overpriced, actually being more expensive than honest to goodness beer and cider. Clearly the Frenchies are simply ripping us all off:
An investigation by Channel 4’s Dispatches found three supermarket chains selling lager cheaper than sparkling Perrier water.
Tesco sold multipacks of Fosters, Carlsberg and Carling lager at 69p a pint and Strongbow cider for 65p a pint. This compared with Perrier mineral water costing 73p a pint.
In Asda, the same beers could be bought for 72p a pint, compared with 76p a pint for Perrier.
And at Sainsbury’s, 20 cans of Fosters lager was 72p a pint while 15 cans of Strongbow cost £8, equating to 69p a pint, 7p less than a pint of sparkling water.
Alternatively of course the Dispatches team are simply being dipsticks. Perrier is a luxury good: a Veblen Good even. It is in fact just water with bubbles put into it: it’s not naturally bubbly at all. And they deliberately make it and advertise it as being expensive. The point being that no one actually likes the stuff it’s just there to be expensive. So that when you buy it people can see that you’re the sort of person who buys expensive bottled water. That’s how it differentiates itself from the supermarket bottled water which is 19p for two litres in the same aisle.
YOU’LL recall that Wonga just got into very hot water over sending threatening letters to people who had not repaid their loans. The problem was that they made the letters look like they came from solicitors of debt collectors: but they were in fact just run off on the company’s own printers using a few names cobbled together.
THAT’S the message from a bunch of wowsing “public health” advocates. That we must immediately make sure that tobacco companies don’t continue moving into the e-cigarette market. Because, you know, umm, it’s bad. No one really manages to say why people getting their nicotine in a manner that doesn’t kill them is bad but it is bad. Trust them.
All of which is very odd indeed really. For e-cigarettes are the one thing that really works in people trying to give up smoking.
THIS is a fairly brazen piece of behaviour. Chelsea Clinton, daughter of Bill and Hillary, insists that she’s not really motivated by nor worried about money. Which is interesting because she’s on a $600,000 a year contract with NBC to do the odd bit of TV reporting now and again. Oh, and she’s married to a finance whizz kid and lives in a $10 million apartment.
I guess quite a lot of us wouldn’t be all that worried about money at that sort of point:
Despite Chelsea’s self-proclaimed disinterest in money-making, a report last week surfaced that she was paid $600,000 by NBC last year to do a smattering of reporting
It is not uncommon for well-known anchors to earn multiple millions per year, but Clinton’s reported annual salary is high for the frequency of her segments.
By comparison, her salary is higher than both of the last two editors of the New York Times.
The paycheck from her NBC contract has helped Chelsea and her husband Marc Mezvinsky buy a $10.5 million apartment next to New York’s Madison Square Park last spring.
OF course we should never look at what our betters actually do: their function is to tell us what to do, not to live up to the rules that they would impose upon us. So it is with those self-appointed moral arbiters at Greenpeace. We should not fly, oh no. For that would be there mere unwashed peasantry enjoying themselves. But when there’s a Greenpeace manager who happens to live in Luxembourg but his work is in Holland it’s fine for him to have a few flights a month to get between the two.
Think I’m kidding?
One of Greenpeace’s most senior executives commutes 250 miles to work by plane, despite the environmental group’s campaign to curb air travel, it has emerged.
Pascal Husting, Greenpeace International’s international programme director, said he began “commuting between Luxembourg and Amsterdam” when he took the job in 2012 and currently made the round trip about twice a month.
The flights, at 250 euros for a round trip, are funded by Greenpeace, despite its campaign to curb “the growth in aviation”, which it says “is ruining our chances of stopping dangerous climate change”.
THE problem with machines is that they’re just not as good as human beings at pattern recognition. This is true of humans looking at human faces as opposed to machines looking at them as it is of supermarket checkouts recognising coins.
And this gives the opportunity to save a bit of money: providing you’re willing to be a thief while you do so of course. For those supermarket checkouts can’t tell the difference between a 250 Iranian Rial coin, a Thai 10 Baht one, or a £2 coin. And this does make a bit of difference:
Co-Operative stores are to examine their self-service checkout systems after Morrisons banned the use of £2 coins to prevent the growing number of people paying with similar shaped foreign change.
Morrisons announced it would not accept the large bimetallic coins at self-service tills in a number of stores until the technology had been updated to recognise the fakes.
Store bosses say there has been a sharp increase in the number of customers disposing of unwanted foreign coins which are the same size as a £2 but are worth far less.
The Iranian 250 rial, which is worth just one pence, is commonly used in place of the £2 coin, as is the Thai ten baht, worth about 18p.
NO more breast augmentation operations will be available on the NHS. At least that’s the promise, that there should be no more fittings of Bulgarian Airbags, or boob jobs, on the NHS.
Cosmetic surgery should not be paid for by the taxpayer, Jeremy Hunt said today in a clampdown on NHS spending.
The Health Secretary said he could understand public anger at high profile cases of breast enlargements, dental work and slimming treatments being offered by the health service.
Mr Hunt insisted that all decisions must be taken on ‘clinical need’ and public money must not be used to pay for surgery just to improve someone’s looks.
Of course, this doesn’t cover women getting reconstruction work after surgery for breast cancer. Or anyone at all who the doctor says is being made really miserable by not having the cosmetic surgery done. Which means that this changes absolutely nothing in fact for the NHS doesn’t do purely cosmetic surgery anyway.
TINDR and Grindr give you the clap. That, at least, is the finding of a new piece of scientific research, that using dating apps on smartphones, like Tinder or Grindr, gives you the clap. It’s not, by the way, the apps themselves that leave you with that itchy or burning sensation. Rather, that if you’re the sort of person who bunks up with anyone likely to say yes then you’re more likely to end up with the clap than those who are more discerning.
People who meet their sexual partners through dating apps are more likely to catch an STI, new research suggests.
The study found the risk is higher for those who meet people through apps than for those who meet sexual partners online or in bars and clubs.
In the last few years, smartphone apps – such as Tinder and Grindr – have become increasingly popular ways to meet potential sexual partners.
THIS is just lovely: as a result of the taxi protests about how awful Uber is in stealing the crusts from the mouths of the poor babbies of taxi drivers there’s been a surge of interest in Uber itself. To the point that downloads of the app rose 850% over the same day a week earlier. This isn’t what those cab drivers were hoping would happen. Well, not unless they’re even more stupid than we already think they are.
Up to 10,000 taxi drivers brought gridlock to central London on Wednesday as they protested against Uber, the mobile application that has become popular in cities across Europe.
AH, Surrey, where women in white jeans and Anthea Turner hair vie for our affections with men who think Jeremy Clarkson would be a great Prime Minister. And it’s where you can move into this magnificent 1 bedroom house in West Ewell, Surrey.
Live the dream:
WE don’t really need an international economics organisation to tell us this: that Britain should build more houses. That prices are going through the roof, that no one normal can actually afford on in London any more, is all the evidence we need that there’s simply not enough of them to go around.
Because, you know, when prices go up that’s a signal that supply is falling behind demand, that basic idea at the heart of economics stuff. But the IMF has gone ahead and told us so anyway:
On the issue of planning, she said: “But we also recognise that rising house prices fundamentally reflect demand that greatly exceeds supply. Addressing imbalances in the housing market by alleviating supply-side constraints will require further measures to increase the availability of land, land for development and to remove unnecessary constraints to land use.”
The IMF’s report also criticised the “unnecessary constraints on brownfield and greenfield developments”.
IT’S rather sad to see the people who actually run the NHS being so confused about the realities of that very NHS. The latest being this idea that all of us becoming fat lardbuckets will mean that the NHS runs out of money. So, therefore, we’ve all got to be dragooned into eating less so as to save the taxpayer.
The problem with this is that fatties don’t cost the NHS cash, they save it. Here’s the standard story:
IT’S one of those little tragedies that hits most peoples’ love lives at one time or another. One starts out the evening lookin’ fer a little lurve and the eye alights upon one carrying a little extra weight. Some interesting handfuls perhaps: and then one wakes up next to a beached whale. Fortunately, now we know the answer. You should have eaten before you went looking:
It is a well-known maxim that you shouldn’t visit the supermarket when feeling hungry, but new research suggests the same is true when going out in search of romance.
Both men and women are more likely to be attracted to people who are larger when they go out on an empty stomach.
Men, in particular will choose more voluptuous women if they have missed a meal while women go for larger, heavier set men.
But scientists warn that when then hunger is sated, they may not feel the same.
THIS looks like a nice little piece of multi-tasking. There was a non-commissioned officer in the US Army who was tasked with making sure that the number of sexual assaults was kept to the minimum possible (obviously, preferably none). And he decided to do this by asking some of the more hard up female soldiers whether they’d like to do a bit of escort work, a bit of prostitution, on the side.
Well done that man:
THIS sounds like a very odd theory, that it’s actually a virus that is turning us all into fat lardbuckets. But while it’s an odd theory there’s enough evidence out there that we should at least consider it seriously. Not to the point that we just assume that it’s correct of course: but to the point where we investigate more to see if it might be true.
Coughs, sneezes and a runny nose are not the worst a bad cold can do to you – it might also make you fat.
Scientists believe a virus behind the common cold could have fuelled the obesity epidemic that has swept the developed world. The culprit? A contagious bug called adenovirus 36.
Experts told the European Congress on Obesity in Sofia that eating and exercise habits haven’t changed enough to explain why people worldwide started piling on weight at around the same time.
There’s two serious points behind this.
A DYNAMIC Bass Player is looking for work in Nashville:
WHAT looks like the new iPhone 6, due for release this summer, can be seen in that video above. The information source is a French website, nowhereelse, and they’ve been pretty reliable in the past. For an English description of what’s going on:
We have already seen dozens of moulds, designs and claimed leaks of Apple new iPhone.
However, a new video provides the best look yet at the rumoured design for a larger, 4.7inch screen handset.
Apple is rumoured to be preparing to launch the handset in August, a month earlier than expected – with an even larger 5.5inch model following a month later.
THAT you’re able to think up and found one of the web’s hotter properties does show that you’ve got some smarts. You’re good at doing something at least. But that’s not to say that having done that that you’re smart, as Mahbod Moghadam of Rap Genius has just proven. For he’s gone off and done something so dickheaded that he’s had to immediately resign from the company that he himself founded. He took the manifesto of the UCSB psycho shooter who killed all those people last week and loaded it up onto his own site. Fair enough, that’s what it’s for, you put a document up on Rap Genius and then people can add their annotations to it. But then he started to make his own annotations. Which were not cool, not cool at all:
Rap Genius co-founder Mahbod Moghadam has been fired from the annotation service after posting appalling comments on the memoir of mass murderer Elliot Rodger, who killed six people in a shooting spree earlier this week.
In now-removed annotations on the site on the sick 141-page manifesto, Moghadam added a tasteless series of comments, including “beautifully written” and also “MY GUESS: his sister is smokin hot.”
THERE’S intriguing evidence that last year’s run up of the price of Bitcoin on MtGox was simply a pump and dump operation by the owners of the site. For there was a result buyer, every few minutes, of ever more of the cryptocurrency. And no one can really say where that money has gone. It seems to be a phantasmal account, one that existed only on the site, in order to increase demand for the currency and thus push its price up. In the finance world this is known as a pump and dump scheme. Keep buying small amounts of something and watch the price creep up. Then dump the whole holding back into the market before anyone cottons on to what you’re doing. Done right this can be very profitable.
WHEN Adam Yauch passed away, his fellow Beastie Boys were told, in no uncertain terms, that they should respect his legacy by never allowing their music to be used in advertisements.
And so, the Beasties are now taking on the Monster Energy drinks company over music used for commercial purposes.