UK property prices up five per cent year-on-year

  • By 0016811658
  • 18 Oct, 2017

Average property prices across the UK have risen by five per cent in the last 12 months, with the average value now sitting at around £225,956.

However, the latest figures, which come from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the Land Registry, suggest that while house price growth remains robust across most of the UK, values in London are actually falling.

In August, average UK property prices rose by 0.5 per cent month-on-month. Areas such as the East of England, the North West and South West all enjoyed significant house price growth, but values in London fell by one per cent for the second consecutive month.

In the City, concerns have been raised that prices are suffering a decline, while elsewhere, critics have voiced fears that ever-rising property values are pushing homes further out of the reach of Britain’s first-time buyers.

Jeremy Duncombe, of Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: “Annual prices are consistently rising as more buyers chase fewer properties.

“Escalated by a critical lack of housing stock, this trend is only set to continue if more affordable housing is not built.

“As speculation around the Autumn Budget begins to build up, we hope there will be a genuine answer to boost supply that gives everyone a realistic chance to own a home.”


By 0016811658 17 Nov, 2017

Landlord and tenant disputes are not uncommon. But one story, reported by the BBC, shows that disputes should always be handled respectfully and with the assistance of a legal professional.

According to the report, a family living in rented accommodation in London have been “threatened with eviction” after complaints that their baby was crying.

The management firm in charge of looking after the property told the family that they would be given “two weeks” to vacate if the crying continued.

The property manager said neighbours had complained about the family’s two children, both under the age of four, “on a daily basis”.

According to the BBC report, the manager wrote to the family telling them to leave the property.

“We have subsequently liaised with your landlord and are instructed that we are to agree arrangements with you to vacate the property as soon as possible,” it said.

The couple said they were upset that they were being “discriminated against” and posted their disgruntlement on Facebook, which quickly generated thousands of comments of support.

Housing charity Shelter said the landlord did not have grounds to evict the family, unless the dispute was taken to court.

The managing agent, Sheraton Management Ltd, says the family "were in breach of contract as they were causing disturbance to the other occupants of the building... not only relating to noisy children, but also other noise nuisance".

“Reluctantly, as there was no remission in the problem, it was on this basis that we advised Mrs Wurth that we may be left with no alternative but to serve a notice for possession," it said.

By 0016811658 16 Nov, 2017

The UK’s worsening late payments crisis is having a detrimental impact on investment, innovation and growth for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) a new study suggests.

Far-reaching research from fintech firm Concur has revealed that 40 per cent of SMEs have received at least one late payment within the last month, while 63 per cent have received at least one late payment every single month in 2017 so far.

The report, entitled Invoice Utopia , quizzed more than 1,200 SMEs to determine the most common effects of late payments on Britain’s businesses.

It found that 17 per cent of firms had been forced to turn their backs on planned investments due to their problems with late payments, while 15 per cent had been forced into a position where they were unable to pay salaries.

A further 10 per cent said that unpaid invoices had forced them to significantly reduce spending on innovation and technology, while seven per cent of firms said that they had been forced to make redundancies.

Emma Maslen, Senior Regional Director for Enterprise at concur, said that it was “shocking” that so many SMEs were so heavily affected by the UK’s late payments culture, and that the report highlighted the “very real risk” such culture poses to “some of the country’s leading employers.”

However, she praised SMEs’ flexibility and expertise in attempting to keep on top of the issue.

She said: “Although not cash-rich, small and micro businesses have the agility and flexibility to make strategic decisions when it comes to cash flow. And of course, enterprises more often than not have a ‘cash cushion’ available to bail them out in difficult situations.”

Going forward, however, she suggested that serious change was needed in order to tackle the growing problem.

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By 0016811658 15 Nov, 2017

New research has revealed that Britain’s gender pay gap is slowly widening – and that women in their 50s, as well as those living in London, the South East or the East of England, all rank among those worst affected.

According to the latest data, Britain’s gender pay gap is currently the widest in London and the narrowest in Wales.

In London, the pay gap is approximately 20.7 per cent, followed by 16.3 per cent in South East England.

The West Midlands and the East of England ranked third and fourth, respectively, while Wales and North East England were found to have the narrowest gender pay gap.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said that women in their 50s are faring particularly badly, being paid an average of 18.6 per cent less than men in similar roles with comparable qualifications.

Maria Miller, Chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committee and MP for Basingstoke, branded Britain’s progress in trying to eliminate the gender pay gap as “disappointing.”

She said that, going forward, a far greater push from the Government – and from businesses – was needed.

“We continue to hear warm words from the Government on eliminating the gender pay gap but clearly progress remains disappointing. Businesses must also take responsibility.

“We continue to push for urgent action and reiterate that flexible working, sharing unpaid caring responsibilities, and supporting women returning to work after having children, are all key to tackling the problem,” she said.  

By 0016811658 14 Nov, 2017

A battle is brewing between a group of taxi drivers and Transport for London (TfL).

 The Licensed Private Hire Car Association – which represents drivers in the capital – has made an application for a judicial review, after objecting to what it has described as “an extortionate” increase in licensing fees.

 The organisation alleges that the proposals would mean that a driver’s five-year licence would go up by 12,000 per cent.

 It has accused officials of appointing too much enforcement officers and believes the costs of paying their wages has necessitated the increase.

 LPHCA chairman Steve Wright said: “It feels as though TfL is trying to close most of the business down with these eye-watering rises, so that there are only a few big firms and a few small ones left. We are in the middle of a war.”

Prior to the increase being announced, the fee had been frozen for a period of five years.

Defending its decision, a TfL spokesman said: “There has been a huge growth in the industry. The licence fee changes reflect the costs to TfL of regulation and associated enforcement activity.

“Changes to fees will fund compliance officers who do a crucial job in driving up standards.

 “We have listened to the views of stakeholders in the consultation and amended the proposed fees structure ... we consider the changes to fees to be proportionate.”


By 0016811658 13 Nov, 2017

Tech giant Uber last week lost the latest stage of a landmark legal battle relating to the employment status of its drivers, but the firm has already confirmed it will appeal.

The company behind the world-famous taxi-hailing app had sought to overturn the previous ruling by an Employment Tribunal, which had found in favour of two drivers who argued they should be categorised as workers rather than self-employed.

On Friday, Judges upheld the decision from last year, much to the delight of James Farrar and Yaseen Alam, the pair who had brought the original claim.

Mr Farrar told the BBC that the ruling was a “huge relief”.

“I really hope it will stick this time and that Uber will obey the ruling of the court,” he said.

“I'd like Uber to sit down and work out how as quickly as possible that every driver who is working for Uber get the rights they are entitled to.”

Trade unions had hailed the decision as a major victory and urged Uber – one of the driving forces in the gig economy - not to lodge a further appeal.

Despite the plea, the business was quick to confirm that it would indeed fight on, with the possibility that one of the most important employment battles of recent times may yet reach the Supreme Court.

Tom Elvidge, Uber UK's acting general manager, said: “Almost all taxi and private hire drivers have been self-employed for decades, long before our app existed.

“The main reason why drivers use Uber is because they value the freedom to choose if, when and where they drive and so we intend to appeal.”

By 0016811658 10 Nov, 2017

According to statistics, today, Friday the 10th November, is the day that women are essentially working for free because of the gender pay gap.

The latest figures show that the average gap between men and women’s salaries is around 14.1 per cent, and, if the gap were to close at the current rate, it would take 100 years for women to level the playing field.

The Fawcett Society, the women’s rights charity, coined the term “Equal Pay Day” over three years ago. Since then, the date has not moved, suggesting that little has been done to achieve consistent pay in the workplace.

The Government has taken minor steps to achieving the goal, forcing businesses with 250 employees or more to publish a full review of their salaries, but little else has been done.

Sam Smethers, chief executive of The Fawcett Society, said: “The pay gap is widest for older women as it grows over our working lives but we are now seeing a widening of the pay gap for younger women too, which suggests we are going backwards and that is extremely worrying.

“At a time when we are breaking the taboo of talking about sexual harassment in the workplace we need to wake up to the fact that a culture which tolerates or even fosters sexual harassment isn’t going to pay women properly either, and we know that younger women are particularly likely to experience harassment.”

Vivienne Hayes, chief executive of charity the Women's Resource Centre, added: “We are here again, year after year lamenting the seemingly impervious issue of equal pay for men and women.

“Even though we have had a law since 1970 outlawing the practice of sex discrimination in pay, our progress is probably not even at a snail's pace."

By 0016811658 09 Nov, 2017

The most recent data suggests that divorce is growing increasingly common in the UK. The number of divorces recorded in 2016 was up by 5.8 per cent year-on-year, representative of the first significant rise in divorce rates since 2009 – but what are some of the key reasons that relationships break down in the first place?

News site Business Insider recently gathered together a series of interesting pieces of research from academics and psychologists in attempt to answer the question.

Research from all over the world has shed light on some of the most common kinds of ‘toxic behaviour’ in relationships – habits which psychologists believe are at the very root of divorce and separation.

Such habits include:

·        Criticising your partner.

·        Being overly defensive.

·        ‘Stonewalling’ or failing to open up about your feelings.

·        Contempt.

The above four habits were identified following a 14-year research project carried out among researchers at the University of California-Berkley – but separate research from elsewhere shares a similar sentiment.

Habits and behaviours such as emotional withdrawal have been cited in many American and other studies as one of the ‘do nots’ of marriage, but an interesting study from Australia suggests that perhaps age could be just as much of a problem as behaviour.

A study carried out by the Institute for Family Studies (IFS), found that the age a couple decides to get wed can have a significant impact on the likelihood that they will eventually divorce.

It found that “the late twenties seems to be the best time to tie the knot” for most people, while  couples who get married in their teens or tie the knot in their mid-30s or later are in fact much more likely to one day divorce.    

By 0016811658 08 Nov, 2017

New research has revealed that Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) are growing increasingly popular across the UK.

LPAs, which enable individuals to take control of the financial affairs of a family member or friend who may have lost the mental capacity to manage such matters themselves, can be vital in situations where a loved one has been diagnosed with a detrimental condition such as Alzheimer’s disease.

New figures from the family courts suggest that as many as 195,000 new LPAs were registered in the first six months of 2017.

Overall, it is estimated that some 2.5 million Britons currently have an LPA.

The rise in popularity of LPAs comes as no surprise, as serious health conditions affecting mental capacity such as dementia also appear to be growing increasingly common across the country.

According to data from leading charity the Alzheimer’s Society, there are approximately 850,000 people currently living with dementia in the UK.

Meanwhile, new cases of dementia are growing rapidly, with the Society estimating that one million Britons will have been diagnosed with the condition by 2025.

It estimates that one new patient is diagnosed with dementia approximately every three minutes here in the UK.

The news highlights the importance of seeking specialist legal advice in relation to LPAs where applicable.  

By 0016811658 07 Nov, 2017

One of Britain’s most influential business bodies has urged employers to take steps to tackle sexual harassment.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said this week that harassment was “totally unacceptable” and that firms needed to work together to address the problem.

Concerns about the difficulties that many employees face in the workplace have grown, following a number of allegations made about misconduct in the film industry and latterly at Westminster.

In recent weeks, concerns have been raised about a system which makes it difficult for those employed by MPs to complain if they have been the victim of inappropriate behaviour.

While the press coverage has focused on the corridors of power, Carolyn Fairbairn, the CBI’s Director General, made clear that sexual harassment was something that needed to be confronted across a whole range of sectors.

“Businesses take the wellbeing and welfare of their employees very seriously,” she said.

“But sexual harassment is often hidden and can come in many guises. Only committed leadership will ensure the workplace is free from sexual harassment and that, when it does happen, there are robust processes to deal with it.”

Ms Fairbairn’s intervention comes hard on the heels of research which suggested that around half of women and one in five men have suffered some form of sexual harassment either in the workplace or at their place of study.

Common problems include inappropriate comments and jokes, unwanted sexual advances and various forms of sexual assault.

But there are concerns that many cases still go unreported and pressure is growing on businesses to ensure they have put thorough procedures in place to ensure that victims have the proper means to report instances of inappropriate behaviour.

The CBI has also advocated firms producing a “code of conduct” to ensure that all members of their workforce are aware of what will and will not be tolerated.

By 0016811658 06 Nov, 2017

The managing director of a bus company has caused controversy after sending an email to staff informing them he was shutting down the business because he could not work with them “a moment longer”.

Sydney Hardy, who ran the Somerset-based firm Nippy Bus, had sent a message to the workforce last month, revealing that he was closing down the business and that they should consider themselves redundant.

In the internal email, which has since been shared with the media Mr Hardy said: “There is a difference between giving up and knowing when you have [had] enough.

“I have had enough and realise I cannot work with you, the people I employ, a moment longer.

“I am quitting to pursue my dream of not having to work here.”

The shock missive means that dozens of drivers have found themselves out of work.

Sixty-four-year-old Dave English, who had driven routes for almost nine years, said the way the matter had been handled was “disgusting.”

“Some of these drivers have children and mortgages. We haven’t been paid for last month’s work.”

Mr Hardy had run Nippy Bus, which had its headquarters near Yeovil, for more than a decade.

The abrupt closure also caught local authority officials off guard, with Cornwall Council rushing to replace services which had previously been handled by Nippy.

A spokesman said: “The council was given no prior notice of a decision by Nippy Bus taken late on Sunday to cease operating with immediate effect.

“Nippy Bus ran several school and public bus contracts as well as a number of demand responsive transport (DRT) services and private services.”

A notice on the firm’s website said it had ceased operating with immediate effect.

It added: “The company has appointed agents who will now work to release the company's assets and discharge its liabilities.”

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