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11/29/2017

WEDNESDAY BRIEFING: LOCATION INFLATION – BRITAIN'S

WEDNESDAY BRIEFING: LOCATION INFLATION – BRITAIN'SThe total value of all the houses in the UK has passed the £6tn mark for the first time, according to research by Halifax.
If you are into hypothetical comparisons, we could pay off Britain’s national debt four times over if everyone sold up.
In 2007 Halifax estimated the UK’s housing stock was worth £4tn. The value of homes in London is now more than all the houses in Scotland, Wales and the north of England combined. In the south, the biggest gainers have been the buy-to-let set of landlords and second home owners. The average rate of owner-occupation across the UK is 63%, but it is just 48% in London.
The report highlights the struggle of younger people to get on the property ladder. Under 35-year-olds own just 3.3% of the UK’s net property wealth, while the over-55s hold 63.3%. More figures and their implications in Patrick Collinson’s full story.

From ‘go whistle’ to ‘where do we sign’ – A Brexit divorce bill of £50bn is close to being settled. The total liability may be £89bn or more, but that will be pared down by leaving behind things like the fridge, kettle and toaster in Brussels. Theresa May will meet the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, on Monday and fingers are crossed that he will decide there has been “sufficient progress” on the financial settlement for trade talks to advance. The EU appears to be firmly in the driving seat of negotiations as Britain’s red lines are rubbed out one by one, writes Dan Roberts, our Brexit policy editor. Meanwhile, with anger still simmering and David Davis facing censure for hoarding secrets from MPs about Brexit’s economic impact, our editorial argues that leavers can’t have it both ways by championing the British parliament’s sovereignty while letting a frontbencher flout the rules.
Kim missile – North Korea has test-fired a ballistic missile that it claims can strike anywhere on the US mainland. The rocket, which the regime called the Hwasong-15, reached 4,500km (2,790 miles) above the Earth, more than 10 times higher than the international space station. It came down off the west coast of Japan nearly 1,000km from its launch site of Sain Ni, North Korea. The launch is a rebuff to Russia, which suggested only the previous day that Kim Jong-un’s regime was showing sufficient restraint for the US and South Korea to consider scaling down their military exercises in return for the North freezing missile and nuclear tests. Experts say the night-time launch mirrors how the missile would be used in war, while the use of a mobile launcher is also significant: “We can’t threaten to take out a missile on a launch pad if there is no launch pad and we don’t know where it’s coming from,” said Mira Rapp-Hooper from Yale.





Not too taxing a discussion – It doesn’t sound like much happened when Theresa May met leaders of Britain’s tax-haven overseas territories yesterday. In the wake of the Paradise Papers leak, they were basically asked politely to “show what more can be done” about tax avoidance, and told that being more transparent would make them look good. It falls well short of proposals championed by David Cameron under which notorious jurisdictions like Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands would have to publish registers of the real owners of shell companies. A cross-party group of MPs wants May to set a deadline for territories to do so, and Labour’s Margaret Hodge says the PM should legislate if they refuse. “It is our tax havens that are completely central to much of the tax avoidance, evasion and financial crime uncovered,” Hodge said.

Left fuming – Dirty air around schools is blighting children’s health and learning as cars pile up outside every morning and afternoon, says George Monbiot. “The government should introduce a duty on councils to impose parking bans around schools at arrival and departure times,” he says. “Without this intervention, headteachers all over the country have to take on the issue one car at a time.” Monbiot highlights the health hazards, ecological disastrousness and outright physical danger of having so many cars coming and going outside schools – as well as exploring the social politics: “It’s also about being seen in your new car. Some parents, by the time they’ve found a place to park, could have walked back and forth three times.”




Lunchtime read: Plight of lifelong ‘illegal’ Britons

The appalling case of a grandmother being put on the brink of deportation 50 years after she moved to Britain has shed light on the innocent victims of Theresa May’s “hostile environment” for illegal immigrants. Paulette Wilson arrived at the age of 10 from Jamaica when there was no need to apply formally for leave to remain (so she has no paperwork about it). Now aged 61, the former cook worked and paid national insurance contributions for decades.
In 2015 Wilson was classed as an illegal immigrant and told to leave. Last month she was put in Yarl’s Wood detention, then the removal centre at Heathrow, before her MP and a local charity got her out. The prospect of further Home Office action still looms. “I’ve been raised here, all I know is Britain. What the hell can I call myself except British? I feel angry that I have to go through this.”




Sport
Mauricio Pochettino accused his Tottenham Hotspur players of lacking fight after their fading title hopes all but disappeared with a chastening 2-1 defeat at Leicester City. Sam Allardyce is set to be named Everton’s new manager after negotiations over him succeeding Ronald Koeman at Goodison Park continued on Tuesday night. Reducing the rugby union Premiership to 10 teams is one of a host of ideas being floated as a potential solution to the continuing dispute over the length of the domestic season, which has led to the threat of a player strike.
Vic Marks writes that Ben Stokes’s decision to head for New Zealand and play some one-day cricket would only be worth it in the highly unlikely event he is to play for England in the third Test at Perth. Finally, Tiger Woods has opened up on his fourth surgery, a back fusion, saying it has cured his “crippling pain”.

Business
Shares have been mixed in Asia following a broad rally on Wall Street that lifted US stocks to a milestone-shattering finish. Investors and the currency markets appeared to shrug off the latest launch of a ballistic missile by North Korea.
The pound has been trading at $1.336 and €1.127 overnight.




The papers
The papers have moved swiftly from royal engagement excitement to royal wedding fever after it was announced that Prince Harry will marry Meghan Markle at Windsor Castle in May, and that Markle will become a British citizen.
The red tops have broken out the puns: the Sun says “Here comes the Brit”, while the Mirror goes with “I’m thrilled to Brits”. The Mail has a “picture exclusive” on the front page: an image of Markle posing outside Buckingham Palace when she was 15.
Away from the palace, the eye-wateringly large Brexit bill is the only (other) story in town. The Guardian leads on the UK facing a £50bn divorce bill from the EU, while the Times says “Britain to pay EU bills for decades”. The Telegraph tells a similar story: “Britain and EU agree on Brexit bill”, as does the FT: “Britain bows to EU on divorce bill in search of Brexit breakthrough”. As is often the case, the Express goes it alone with its splash about a big rise in sufferers of diabetes developing cancer.

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