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KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-newssince 2002
28th January 2021


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That was some budget, wasn’t it? The penny had only dropped the previous week that it was we taxpayers who’d been topping up the income of the lowest paid in the form of tax credits and I’d had a whinge about it in KBzine’s sister publication, Cleanzine, arguing that it was the responsibility of companies that could afford to pay their employees more, to do so… Then the Chancellor announced that the National Minimum Wage is effectively to become the National Living Wage, that it is to grow much faster than it has done in previous years and that it will reach £9.00/hr by 2020…

Bearing in mind that the London Living Wage is already at £9.15/hr, the changes will need tweaking, but the idea is, nevertheless, a good one. I know with the cuts in Corporation Tax also announced, taxpayers will still be helping fund the increased payments, but the new system will afford the recipients some dignity and make it easier for them to rent homes, because they will no longer be benefit claimants. I’ve yet to work out whether it will give them more spending power though – and of course the cuts to allowances a little further up the employment chain are likely to have a negative impact on spending.

I like the idea of reducing the tax perks currently enjoyed by career landlords as it should even things out a little. At my weekend estate agency job, I’m upset at the despair of potential buyers who seem to be thwarted at every offer, by buy-to-let investors with cash in their pockets. And with even a one-bed flat above a takeaway in my area going for just under £200K, there’s very little about for people to buy.

The announcement that planning laws are to be relaxed, should – I hope – make a big difference.

If, as is being mooted, developers are given automatic planning permission to build on disused industrial sites, councils get to seize disused land and fast track housing projects and scrap the need for planning permission for buildings to be increased to the height of neighbouring properties, it could give us all the boost we need. After all, every new home needs a kitchen and a bathroom, and when people do extend, a larger kitchen and an extra bathroom are never far behind, are they?



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Jan Hobbs



10th July 2015

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