Thursday 30 August 2012

Yeah! We have a candidate for the Corby by-election

Dr Rohen Kapur (who may be known to some of you) has kindly offered to stand as our candidate, he's stood in elections before and knows the score.

His Facebook page is here

Tuesday 28 August 2012

Four in five mothers ought to vote YPP

From The Daily Mail:

It should be a time full of hope and aspiration for a bright future in the making.
But a combination of fears over rocketing housing costs, personal debts and shrinking pensions has cast a cloud over the delights of bringing up a child, a survey reveals.
Most young mothers have ‘a significant degree of pessimism’ about their children’s future.

One of the biggest concerns is that the child will never be able to afford to buy their own home and will be forced to rent throughout their adult life...

Some 80 per cent felt the chance of getting on to the housing ladder ‘would be worse for their children than it was for them’. It comes as the cost of buying a home has rocketed to levels which only the rich or those with generous parents can afford.

Not to worry, once we've replaced taxes on earned income with taxes on the rental value of land, the whole pyramid will be turned on its head. Today's families with young children will be £10,000 a year better off and the next wave will be £20,000 a year better off, they'll be able to pay off their mortgages in five or ten years and then start saving up for later.

Monday 27 August 2012

The latest from Mr King's counting house...

The mainstream media are howling about the Bank of England's recent claims that it's 375 billion quid 'quantitative easing' policy has mainly benefitted the wealthiest 5% of the population.  The punters are lapping it up too, check out the comments over at the Guardian for instance.  The basis for this claim is that the richest 5% of Brits own 40% of all the shares and corporate bonds, and that QE made the price of these assets rise, but did it?

The above chart shows the UK's top 350 shares (the FTSE350) tracked against the USA's top 500 shares (the S&P 500) from late 2007 to today.  As you can see, both indexes bottomed out in March 2009, the same time QE started, and have tracked one another ever since.  Are the Bank of England seriously saying that their QE program also made the US stock market rise? 

Another point worth noting is that the red line is denominated in pounds sterling, and the blue line US dollars.  At the start of the chart the exchange rate was about 2:1, in March 2009 about 1.35:1 and now it is about 1.57:1.  So although it looks like the FTSE 350 fell less and then outperformed the S&P 500, it didn't when you adjust for the difference in currency exchange rates and is still underperforming it by about 20%.

Another thing worth noting is that the UK FTSE index is very overweight with mining stocks, London being the traditional home of metals trading.  Very few of these companies actually mine anything in the UK and they sell their raw materials globally.  The above chart is the share price for BHP Billiton, one of the world's biggest miners.  Mining stocks bottomed around November / December 2008, right around the time the massive Chinese infrastructure stimulus was announced.  Mervyns more recent bouts of QE have done nothing boost the price of UK listed mining stocks in the face of a Chinese slowdown.

The truth about QE is that the Bank of England have purchased about as many government bonds as HM Treasury have issued since it started.  Whether Mervyn is simply doing it because the monetary policy text book says he should, or has more secretive deficit financing motives, we will probably not know for a long time to come.  However the Bank of England's central claim:

"In fact, the Bank’s assessment is that asset purchases have pushed up the price of equities by at least as much as they have pushed up the price of gilts"

is highly dubious.  It is impossible to tell what would have happened to the share price of the big global companies listed on the London Stock Exchange in the absense of QE (most of whom can easily issue bonds and borrow in dollars or euros if they want to).  This report is more psychobabble from an overpaid economics lecturer and thinking people would be wise to pay very little attention to it.

Saturday 25 August 2012

Party Political Broadcast on behalf of the YPP

Jeff Randall has done our work for us, thanks to Peter Smith for the links. Each part is about twelve minutes long.

Primarily he's railing against public sector spending and deficits. The way in which the housing market has been used as a massive wealth-transfer programme from young to old (not to mention from the productive economy to the bankers) is covered in the second part.

Friday 24 August 2012

They are getting increasingly blatant about it.

The powers that be are gradually abandoning any pretence that what they are doing is for the benefit of the wider economy. Here are some examples from the current month:

Exhibit One

Chancellor George Osborne has announced that the government's £80 billion Funding for Lending scheme is open for business... The Bank 0of England] will offer the funding at below market rates and will monitor banks' progress in lending it out.

Yup, the banks get our money at 'below market rates' so that they can lend it back to us at market rates, so that's guaranteed profits of 2% x £80 billion = £1.6 billion which can go towards the bankers' bonuses.

Exhibit Two

Mr Pickles is concerned that too much development is being stalled because of economically unrealistic agreements negotiated between councils and developers at the height of the housing boom. This results in no development, no regeneration and no community benefits at all when agreements are no longer economically viable.

Yup, the government has just handed the land bankers (they refer to themselves as 'home builders' or 'developers') massive windfall gains. There are other reasons why construction has stalled, and this move, on its own won't make any difference. The land bankers will still wait until prices start rising again before they cash in, thus getting double the benefit.

Exhibit Three

THE GOVERNMENT has today launched a long-awaited review of the private-rented housing market that calls for councils to waive affordable housing requirements on private rented schemes and for financial incentives to encourage investment into the sector.

The review, conducted by 3i chairman Sir Adrian Montague, makes five recommendations to the government for encouraging large institutions to invest in privately rented homes to help meet demand.

As well as waiving affordable housing requirements, these include making more public sector land available for private rented schemes and setting up a “task-force” of developers to advise the government and set standards.

The report also recommends the government provide equity or debt funding to share the risk and help kickstart investment.

Aha, what do you call it when the government provides the land to build houses on, and provides the finance and bears the risk? Isn't that a bit like 'social housing'? Only with proper social housing, the profits are dished out as reduced rents to the tenants, but with the government's vision, all the profits go straight into the pockets of vulture capitalists like 3i.

Exhibit Four

The Bank of England has defended its policy of quantitative easing, despite admitting that the top 5% of households have benefited the most... "By pushing up a range of asset prices, asset purchases have boosted the value of households' financial wealth held outside pension funds, although holdings are heavily skewed, with the top 5% of households holding 40% of these assets," the Bank said.

Enough said?

Sunday 12 August 2012

Great! The EU supporters and Greenies hate us as well!

Over at a Facebook group called PricedOut supporting first-time buyers against But-to-Let the EU supporters and Greenies are lecturing us from upon high about the Path Of True Green RightEUsness.

Excellent, we've already booked our place in the Daily Mailexpressgraph's version of Hell by proposing that we phase out taxes on earned income and output and collect revenue from the rental value of land instead (let along liberalising drug laws). But that doesn't mean that we will just fall into line with some other bunch of rent-seekers. And as long as we are being slagged off by rent seekers on "left" and "right" we know we on roughly the right track.

It's quite amazing how the kleptocrats co-opt people. It's the same motley crew of bankers, corporatists, kleptocrats, land owners and subsidy junkies who are behind everything (the EU as it stands is a symptom not a cause), it's just The Powers That Be have squared the circle and co-opted both those who see themselves as small government right wing (the Home-Owner-Ists) as well as those who see themselves as large government left wing (the EU supporters and Greenies).

For example, whether it's creating credit on the back of inflated land prices, keeping the Euro afloat or trading carbon credits, it's always the likes of Goldman Sachs who get richer.

But we're not being co-opted by anybody, thank you very much.

Friday 10 August 2012

The 'great and the good' - still there and still wrong...

Nine and a half years ago, in the heady house price boom of 2003, the Bank of England lowered interest rates to a (then) paltry 3.5%. We all know what happened next. Mortgage lending went beserk, house prices went manic and in 2007 the banks' balance sheets started to burst under the strain. We're still nowhere near out of the woods five years on.

Have look back at the BBC archives. Have a look at how the experts, or the so called 'great and the good' all hailed it as an unquestionable good. Then scroll down to the bottom of the page and look at the comments from the man on the street.  This part is my personal favourite:

House prices last month were 24.9% higher than in January 2002, Halifax, the UK's biggest mortgage lender, said on Wednesday. But the Bank warned of a gloomier economic outlook. "Over the next two years, the prospects for demand, both globally and domestically, are somewhat weaker than previously anticipated," a Bank statement said. While inflation was, at 2.7%, a "little above target", the Bank attributed the rise to temporary factors. The cut would help keep inflation "on track", Thursday's statement added.

Isn't it just a shame that the five readers quoted at the bottom of the article weren't running the Bank of England instead?  The bad news is that 'great and the good' are still there, pushing out the same old politically correct claptrap and wrecking young people's futures in the process of being paid to be wrong about pretty much everything. I wonder how many of them own buy-to-lets?

Isn't it time to have a clearout?

Wednesday 8 August 2012

Landlord scams (4)

Continuing the theme of the previous posts, one landlord scam goes as follows:

1. Tell the tenant that the rent is inclusive of Council Tax, so the rent can be increased by £50 - £100 per month.

2. Don't pay the Council Tax.

3. Wait until the tenant has moved out and then inform the council of the tenant's new address and the council will then chase the former tenant. The law is broadly that the Council Tax is payable by the occupant, not the person registered at HM Land Registry.

4. The landlord profits by the extra rent he charged, which was supposed to cover the Council Tax.

5. Some tenants do the same in reverse, i.e. they don't pay the Council Tax while they are there, and then do a disappearing act, so as a default, the council will chase the owner/landlord for the Council Tax.

As the law stands, there is a little that the defrauded tenant (or landlord) can do in such a situation, however there are things which local councils can do administratively to prevent this happening.

YPP councils would work on the basis that the primary liability to pay the Council Tax is with the registered owner. If the landlord and tenant agree (for whatever reason) that the tenant will pay, they will have to both sign and submit a declaration to that effect. The council will check that the purported landlord is in fact the registered owner of the home and liability to pay will transfer to the tenant when he receives confirmation from the council (and no earlier).

Some tenants will prefer this method; if they receive the notification from the council that, then this is their confirmation that the purported landlord is the actual owner.

Similarly, it is far more convenient for all parties - the owner/landlord, the tenant as well as the council - if the primary liability remains with the landlord and he adds it to the rent, leaving the tenant with a single monthly or weekly payment and no need for two re-registrations every time a tenant leaves and a new tenant moves in.

Tuesday 7 August 2012

Labour's housing policy fail (3)...

Let's try to interpret some more of Labour's newspeak into English shall we?  Page 10 details the following proposal:

We intend to work in partnership with the sector to develop solutions, and will look at potential measures including a code of code of conduct with entry requirements for letting agents and compulsory business and consumer protection measures. We will consider how compliance could be monitored, for example by a regulatory body with enforcement powers.

... a code of code of conduct ...

This is a set of rules, established by a trade association or similar entity.  For example there is the Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA) Code of Practice, or The Property Ombudsman (TPO) Code of Practice.  Businesses choose whether or not to pay for membership of a trade association, and by joining agree to follow the code of conduct.

... entry requirements for letting agents ...

This means qualifications, such as those awarded by the National Federation of Property Professionals.  Their quaifications "are developed in consultation with ARLA and therefore meet the qualification requirements necessary for ARLA membership."  (Their words, not mine)

... compulsory business and consumer protection measures ...

The big question here is what they mean by 'compulsory'.  The two codes of conduct above are compulsory should a lettings agent choose to join the relevant trade association / scheme.  Are labour planning to make membership compulsory for lettings agents? 

... for example by a regulatory body with enforcement powers ...

In other words a quango.  What labour are clearly proposing is to create a statutory ARLA or TPO.  Let's go back to the first line of that statement:

 "We intend to work in partnership with the sector to develop solutions ..." 

What Labour mean is that they intend to put ARLA or the TPO, or more likely an amalgamation of the two, on a statutory footing and compel lettings agents to join.  In other words, legislate to turn them into a quango.  After all, this is the only 'solution' that 'the sector' (i.e. trade associations, landlord industry representatives and big estate agents) will agree to.

YPP councils will not by pander to landlords, estate agents and their representatives, but help tenants by approving planning applications and building more social housing.

Monday 6 August 2012

Corby by-election

It looks like Louise Bagshawe/Mensch has gathered enough raw material to write a few Parliament-based bonk-buster chick-lit novels and is buggering off to sunnier climes.

If you live in or near Corby and would like to be our first Parliamentary candidate in the by-election to be held in November, please email your details to

Time wasters need not apply, as the saying goes.

Labour housing policy fail (2)...

Whilst labour's housing policy review might claim to stick up for tenants, YPP can explain why they are up to their old trick of not telling the truth.  Let's take this rather bold statement at the top of page 5:

"There are cases of agencies, even large and well-established [lettings agency] businesses, running into difficulties because they had no client money protection, with both landlords’ and tenants’ money being lost."

Now it is true that lettings agents are not legally required to have 'client money protection'.  A lettings agent can collect the rent from the tenant and use the money as the normal cash flow of the business.  They do not have to keep it in a seperate 'client account' on behalf of the landlord.  This is what 'client money protection' means.

However once the tenant has paid their rent to the landlord's agent - aka their lettings agent - then as far as the law is concerned they have paid it to the landlord.  The tenants' money cannot be 'lost' because a dodgy lettings agent has spent it on fast women and cocaine before it got to the landlord as labour suggest.

Ah, but what about deposits?  They belong to the tenant don't they?  Well, under the Housing Act 2004 (see Chapter 4 and Schedule 10) it is the landlord that is responsible for protecting the tenant's deposit.  If his agent - aka the lettings agent - spends it on fast women and cocaine, the landlord is still liable to the tenant for the deposit, including where the tenant remains in place (say the lettings agent has gone bust) re-protecting the deposit in a deposit protection scheme out of his own pocket.

A tenants money cannot be 'lost' because a dodgy lettings agent has no 'client money protection' only the landlord's money can be 'lost' this way.  So don't be fooled by labour's proposals for more new landlord protection legislation.  Just look at the vested interests labour quote as wanting this reform on pages 8 and 9 for a start:

* The British Property Federation
* The Association of Residential Letting Agents
* The Residential Landlords Association
* National Landlords Association
* Countrywide Estate Agents

We'll look more at how these vested interests stand to benefit from labours landlord protection regulation later on.  Labour haven't changed, don't let them fool you again!

Sunday 5 August 2012

Labour housing policy fail (1)...

The Labour Party have launched a policy review on the private rented housing sector. Calling for yet more pointless regulation and town hall bureaucracy, it really misses the mark. Let's start with on of their case studies.

Page 6 - Submitted by Newham Council

"Letting Agent X agreed to rent out a ground floor flat to a tenant. Letting Agent X took the tenant’s deposit and a month’s rent and gave her the keys. A few days later the “real” Letting Agent (Letting Agent Y), entered the flat and was surprised to find the new tenant. Letting Agent Y said to the tenant that she had to leave as she was trespassing and he had no knowledge of Agent X. The tenant could not contact Agent X. Agent Y agreed to let her stay in the flat but she had to pay a month’s rent. The tenant, who had very little money was left with little option but to stay on Agent Y’s terms. The tenant had to pay the equivalent of £1,650 rent for the first month, instead of 550 and lost her deposit in the process."

How this scam works

This is a simple scam, whereby the criminal has access to the keys for the property concerned. It is easy to get keys cut and there are lots of ways they can can get them. Previous tenants is the most obvious answer. A less obvious, but not unknown modus operandi is that many lettings agents are happy to employ sub agents on a commission only basis. They allow sub agents to advertise the property themselves, come to the office, collect the keys and show prospects around. A dodgy sub agent may have cut keys they obtained from a legitimate lettings agent.

Once you have the keys you falsify the paperwork, take the first months rent, deposit and fee (usually well over a grand these days, and in cash) and hey presto you have made an average months wages tax free. It is also conceivable that agent X defaulted on agent Y, preferring to stuff the tenants deposit up his nose, and that agent Y are unlawfully taking it out on the tenant.

The law and the consequences

If the tenant reports this to the Police they will most likely be told it is a 'civil' issue. If they report it to the council they will most likely be told to report it to the Police. Very few public authorities bother to investigate these kind of 'petty' thefts.  Yet they will happily arrest and prosecute shoplifters for stealing much less.  Tenants are seen as fair game in today's Britain.

In the case study, letting agent X has probably committed offences under the Theft Act 1968 (for stealing the tenants deposit that should have been kept in a custodial or 'insurance backed' scheme as per the Housing Act 2004). Newham council can prosecute Theft Act offences if it wants to. Agent X would have also most likely committed trading standards offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, which councils like Newham already have ample powers to investigate.

If agent X had obtained the keys on the black market, and disappeared into the night then any investigation would most likely be a wild goose chase unless disproportionate police resources were deployed. However, if agent X was a sub agent of agent Y, and was authorised to make such contracts by agent Y, the tenants contract should stand and agent X simply owes agent Y the money.

The YPP stance

The Theft Act 1968 did not stop theft, just like the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 did not stop misuse of drugs. More town hall regulation and bureaucracy will not stop dishonest people stealing keys to bedsits and trying on this scam via the small ads. It will provide more pointless jobs for Labour's paymasters, the folk who pay public sector union subscriptions and draw an often handsome salary from the town hall coffers. It will not protect tenants, who in reality have to be careful about who they hand their cash over to.

YPP councils will champion tenants' existing rights and prioritise the investigation and prosecution of dodgy lettings agents and landlords under existing legislation. Labour will create more pointless regulation and bureaucracy for their town hall paymasters to administer, while doing nothing to catch criminals or legislate to create a better deal for tenants. Don't let Labour trick you into voting for more of the same old nonsense. It didn't work last time and it sure as Hell won't work this time.

Wednesday 1 August 2012

Our first leaflet

It's to be printed two-sided and folded in three, so the front page is the right hand column of page 1. Right click and download etc if you'd like to print it yourself.

Nothing is ever final, so please leave any comments and suggestions in the, er, comments.