Posts Tagged ‘Japanese PM’

Tuesday News Review

30/08/2011, 06:56:01 AM

Housing crisis

The National Housing Federation said the number of property owners will drop to just 63.8% as house prices soar, compared to 72.5% in 2001. The study says rising prices, the need for huge deposits and a tightening of lending criteria will force ownership numbers down. It also predicts prices in the rental market will increase sharply as people struggle to own their own home. The group, which represents housing associations in England, says a shortage of homes in the UK is also to blame. Housing minister Grant Shapps said the government is aiming to deliver on its promise of 170,000 new homes in the next four years, coupled with encouragement of lenders to help first time buyers. However the NHF chief executive David Orr says the market is “dysfunctional” and warned: “Home ownership is increasingly becoming the preserve of the wealthy and, in parts of the country like London, the very wealthy.” – Sky News

The housing market is in crisis as house prices soar and ownership levels tumble, a forecast warned yesterday. Ownership in England will fall to 63% in the next decade from a 2001 peak of 72.5%, the National Housing Federation, which represents housing associations, said. It blames an under-supply of homes, big deposits and stricter lending rules. Oxford Economics, which was commissioned to produce the forecasts, expects a 20% rise in house prices, to £260,304, and private rents, to £582 a month, by 2016. About 4.5 million people are on waiting lists for social housing and only those in desperate need have a chance of being allocated a house. Federation chief executive David Orr demanded more Government investment to build affordable housing. – Daily Mirror

In England, 67.8 per cent of people currently own their home. London will see the biggest drop over the next ten years, from about 50 per cent to 44 per cent in 2021, while the North-East will be the only region to see an increase, rising from 66.2 per cent to 67.4 per cent. Today, the typical first-time buyer has to save £26,346 to get a mortgage – the equivalent of 20 per cent of the value of their home – according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Four years ago, they needed only a deposit of 10 per cent. However, Mr Orr blamed builders, not banks, for the housing crisis. ‘Despite the overwhelming need to increase supply, house building has slumped to a 90-year low, plunging the country even deeper into the mire,’ he said. House prices and rent are both predicted to rise by about 20 per cent over the next five years.  This would mean the average tenant paying £1,152 more per year. – Daily Mail

Crossrail delay to stop another Bombardier

Britain’s next train manufacturing contract could be awarded to a UK-based business after the £16bn Crossrail project delayed a competition to build new carriages. The move reduces the chances of a repeat of the Bombardier row, where the company’s Derby factory missed out to a German rival for a £1.4bn government contract. As a consequence of the delay, the Crossrail tender will include recommendations from a government review of public procurement that was announced in the wake of the Bombardier decision. Crossrail said the primary reason for pushing the award of the carriage contract from late 2013 to 2014 was to save costs, but said it would also allow “the conclusions of the government’s review of public procurement to be taken into account”. In a carefully worded statement, Crossrail indicated that a UK-based business will be in a stronger position for the new contract than it was in the Thameslink contest. – the Guardian

Cash for access returns

David Cameron has been accused of holding “cash for access” meetings with the head of a public affairs firm. As Tory leader he pledged to end the “far-too-cosy relationship between politics, government, business and money”. But since becoming Prime Minister he has twice held private talks with Conservative Intelligence boss Tim Montgomerie without any officials present, previously secret records show. The company charges clients up to £2,500 a year for advice that includes briefings on government policy and the “dos and don’ts” of tapping-up ministers. The talks came to light when Mr Cameron was forced to publish details of all his meetings at the height of the phone-hacking row. Labour MP John Mann said: “This revelation totally shatters his promise to clean up Westminster. It is old fashioned cash-for-access and lobbying dressed up in a new guise.” – Daily Mirror

Funding cap would ruin Labour

Labour could face financial ruin under plans being developed to cap the biggest donations to political parties, a Guardian analysis shows. The independent standards watchdog is said to have agreed to recommend a new limit on donations, introducing an annual cap with figures ranging from £50,000 to £10,000 being considered. Such a move, in an attempt to clean up political funding, would end the six- and seven-figure donations to the Labour party from its union sponsors, as well as the Tories’ reliance on the richest city financiers. An analysis of five and a half years’ worth of donations to the parties reveals the move would most dramatically affect Labour’s funding base. If the £50,000 limit had been in place over the period, Labour’s donations would have been reduced by 72%, the Conservatives‘ by 37% and theLiberal Democrats‘ by 25%. – the Guardian

Japan’s new PM

Japan’s parliament elected Yoshihiko Noda as the country’s new prime minister Tuesday, making him the country’s sixth new leader in five years. Noda won 308 out of 476 possible votes. The prime minister-elect will officially take over his new post after a ceremonial endorsement by Japan’s emperor, which is expected to happen Wednesday. Ahead of the vote, former Prime Minister Naoto Kan officially submitted his resignation, as did his Cabinet, clearing the way for Noda’s election. The Democratic Party of Japan, the country’s ruling party, picked Noda as its new leader on Monday. He served as finance minister in Kan’s cabinet. In his first speech as party leader, Noda called for party unity to tackle Japan’s massive problems. – CNN

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