My wife and I are thinking about climbing up the property ladder and buying our second home. We have a budget of roughly £450,000 and have been to see one or two homes we are keen on. However, I noticed rumours are swirling about a potential axing of stamp duty on property sales under £500,000 – for all buyers, not just first-time ones. We'd be at the upper end of the scale – if we bought somewhere for £450,000, we'd be looking at £12,500 on stamp duty – I'd much rather this was zero. So, should we hold off? How likely is it to happen? Furthermore, would it have an instant knock-on effect to prices? As in, would more people be willing to buy, creating more demand? Time for change: Mr Johnson has told MPs that an overhaul of stamp duty is needed MailOnline Property expert Myra Butterworth replies: Speculation around changes to stamp duty has intensified following the change in the Conservative leadership. Within days of Boris Johnson … [Read more...] about Should I hold off buying a new home until later in the year to potentially avoid a chunky stamp duty bill… and would mooted changes hit prices?
New credit reporting rules
What is democracy worth? Later this month a broadly philosophical question will be put to a material test. On 25 October at 5pm, the web domain democracy.com goes up for auction. The site is currently administered by veteran social activist Talmage Cooley. The advertised price, according to Heritage Auctions, is $300,000 or higher. The sale is being run as a sealed-bid auction, in which each potential buyer is blind to what others have offered. It’s a gamble, like democracy itself, and it’s possible that there will be no buyers at all. “This is an aspirational piece of real estate that represents one of the core values on the planet, and it’s worth what somebody thinks they can do to leverage that name,” Cooley told the Guardian. Domain names are not what they used to be and values have fallen since domain suffixes were expanded beyond dot com and dot org. The highest recorded price for a domain was cars.com, valued at $872m in 2015. But .com domains … [Read more...] about Who will be the new owner of democracy.com? Domain to go on sale
A few weeks ago after watching the Dolphins and then the Jets suffer their latest embarrassing, soulless losses, I posed a question on Twitter: Is it better to be a Dolphins or Jets fan? For a fleeting moment all the misery felt equal, after all, losing is losing, right? But after some thought, some enlightened responses and a little more perspective, it turns out Dolphins fans are living the dream compared to Jets fans and a number of other fanbases that again had to suffer through their team’s hell in Week 5. Most of this year’s crop of bad teams – including the Jets, Washington, Bengals, Falcons and to an extent the Cardinals and Steelers – look especially egregious this season. In large part that’s because, unlike the Dolphins, they are losing without purpose or any semblance of remedy. Miami, to their credit have been honest about this lost season. GM Chris Grier already said this year’s Dolphins weren’t “built to win a Super … [Read more...] about Incredibly, the putrid Dolphins are not the most dismal team in the NFL
Meeting someone later in life can bring huge joy, but a new relationship can also be fraught with difficulty, particularly when it comes to money. If you’re new on the dating scene after years of marriage, the modern rules of money will have changed. And they are ones all women would be wise to embrace. According to a recent survey by Netwealth, while 31 per cent of women aged 16 to 34 now keep their finances separate from their partner, most women aged over 55 shared their wealth — even though one in three regretted not maintaining financial independence. What still hasn’t changed is people’s reticence to discuss money with a new partner — and that could come at enormous cost. There are far too many examples of women, later in life, being duped by men who profess to be in love with them but who are only after their cash. Financial journalist Heather McGregor recommends asking a man how much he earns on a first date, to check whether you are both … [Read more...] about Why every midlife woman must watch their money when they fall in love: Ask his salary on the first date, never lend him any cash and don’t risk the kids’ inheritance
Later this week in Geneva, at the UN Human Rights Council, the final report will be presented of an investigation we undertook into poverty in the UK. A major focus is on universal credit, the welfare reform that merged six government benefits into one. While it has drawn intense scrutiny and criticism in Britain, surprisingly little attention has been given to what is likely to be its greatest and most enduring impact. What became apparent to us after interviewing leading scholars, digital experts, welfare rights organisations and individual claimants is that universal credit is not only a massive welfare policy reform; it also represents a transformational move towards digital government. The pioneering postwar British welfare state is rapidly being replaced by what we term a “digital welfare state”. This is presented by the government as an apolitical and technocratic fix aimed at making government more efficient and cost-effective. But in some respects it is also a … [Read more...] about How Britain’s welfare state has been taken over by shadowy tech consultants