As parent of sick child confronts him, Boris Johnson denies press are there – while being filmed by press!

“An angry relative of a sick child has confronted Boris Johnson during a hospital visit, criticising the NHS as “not acceptable”.

Mr Johnson was visiting Whipps Cross University Hospital in northeast London when he was confronted by the man on a children’s ward.

In a conversation lasting around two minutes, the man claimed there were not enough doctors or nurses and accused the prime minister of visiting the hospital for a “press opportunity”.

He told Mr Johnson: “There are not enough people on this ward, there are not enough doctors, there’s not enough nurses, it’s not well organised enough.

“The NHS has been destroyed… and now you come here for a press opportunity.”

In response, the prime minister said: “There’s no press here.”

However, the man was quick to point to cameras filming the altercation, saying: “What do you mean there’s no press here, who are these people?”

https://news.sky.com/story/not-acceptable-boris-johnson-confronted-by-relative-of-sick-child-on-hospital-visit-11813046

PegasusLife removes age restriction on luxury Portishead flats (“not viable” they say)

Seems about the same size as the proposed Sidmouth development at the old EDDC HQ, but without the sea views and parkland location …

“Pegasus Life unveiled proposals to change the use of its recently-completed Marina Gardens project, in Martingale Way, at Portishead Town Council’s meeting on September 11.

The developer completed construction of the 126-home complex – intended for ‘assisted living’ for elderly people – over the summer, but has decided its plans ‘won’t work financially’.

Instead, it will submit an application to North Somerset Council to remove the age restriction to allow the properties to be sold on the open market.

An additional apartment will be created as a result, while 38 will be earmarked for affordable housing schemes.

Emma Webster, Pegasus Life’s head of corporate affairs, said: “As we headed towards the final stages of the development, one of the things we have discovered is quite a lot has gone on.

“In the intervening period (since the application), there have been a number of developments built in North Somerset to address the requirement (for assisted living homes).

“We have taken the decision the application we secured consent for won’t work financially.”

The developer plans to increase parking capacity from 96 to 127 and Ms Webster believes the homes will offer a better ‘quality of life’ for owners.

She also told councillors the firm sees a need for ‘this type of accommodation in Portishead’, and will not be ‘importing people into the area’.

The plans were met with anger from members of the public.

Portishead resident Ken Smith, after hearing Pegasus Life’s presentation, described the development as the ‘worst building in Portishead’.

He continued: “I could probably live with it if you were going to look after old people, but you’ve realised you’re not selling them and you need to make more money by selling to any Tom, Dick and Harry.

“I think you should be ashamed of yourselves.”

Jonathan Mock labelled the building ‘horrific’ in public participation.

“It has all the charm of something from the communist bloc in terms of architecture,” he added.”

https://www.northsomersettimes.co.uk/news/marina-gardens-plans-changed-1-6273316?

Too late for Sidford: “Air pollution particles found on foetal side of placentas – study”

“Air pollution particles have been found on the foetal side of placentas, indicating that unborn babies are directly exposed to the black carbon produced by motor traffic and fuel burning.

The research is the first study to show the placental barrier can be penetrated by particles breathed in by the mother. It found thousands of the tiny particles per cubic millimetre of tissue in every placenta analysed.

The link between exposure to dirty air and increased miscarriages, premature births and low birth weights is well established. The research suggests the particles themselves may be the cause, not solely the inflammatory response the pollution produces in mothers.

Damage to foetuses has lifelong consequences and Prof Tim Nawrot at Hasselt University in Belgium, who led the study, said: “This is the most vulnerable period of life. All the organ systems are in development. For the protection of future generations, we have to reduce exposure.” He said governments had the responsibility of cutting air pollution but that people should avoid busy roads when possible.

A comprehensive global review concluded that air pollution may be damaging every organ and virtually every cell in the human body. Nanoparticles have also been found to cross the blood-brain barrier and billions have been found in the hearts of young city dwellers. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/17/air-pollution-particles-found-on-foetal-side-of-placentas-study?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

“Help to Buy is not helping housing crisis, warn MPs”

As they say: No sh*t Sherlock!

“A parliamentary committee has slammed the government’s £12 billion Help to Buy scheme for tying up vast sums of money in a policy that has mostly supported homebuyers who could already afford to buy a property while failing to boost the provision of affordable housing or reduce homelessness.

The public accounts committee found that three fifths of buyers who took part in the scheme did not need it to buy a home. It said that the “large sums of money tied up could have been spent in different ways to address a wider set of housing priorities and focus more on those most in need”.

The committee has called on the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to carry out a full evaluation of the scheme’s value and necessity before a new version of the policy is launched in 2021.

Shares in Britain’s biggest housebuilders, which sell a significant proportion of homes through the scheme, fell this morning on the report. Persimmon lost about 53p, or 2.5 per cent, to £20.48; Taylor Wimpey fell by 4p, or 2.4 per cent to 159p; Barratt Developments slipped 9¼p, or 1.4 per cent, to 641¾p.

Help to Buy was introduced in April 2013 in response to a fall in house sales following the financial crash of 2008, when a tightening of regulations around mortgage lending made it more difficult to buy a property. It was originally intended to run until 2015 but will now last for a decade.

The scheme offers buyers with a deposit of 5 per cent a five-year interest-free loan of up to 20 per cent of the purchase price, or 40 per cent in London. The loan must be repaid in full on the sale of the property, within 25 years, or in line with the buyer’s main mortgage if it extends beyond 25 years.

The current scheme, which runs until March 2021, is not means-tested and is open to first-time buyers and those who have previously owned a property. Buyers can purchase properties valued at up to £600,000. From March 2021, a new scheme which is due to run for two years, will be restricted to first-time buyers and will introduce lower regional caps on the maximum property value, while remaining at £600,000 in London.

Help to Buy has increased housing supply by an estimated 14 per cent. Since it launched, it has supported more than 220,000 home purchases. The government has issued loans with a total value of more than £12.4 billion.

However, the committee warned that the government has allowed the scheme to become a semi-permanent feature of the housing market without thinking through the changes needed to improve the value to be achieved from the scheme. There is also no plan in place to prevent a fall in supply when the scheme ends in 2023.

Research by the committee also found that should house prices fall or interest rates increase, the government could make a substantial loss on the scheme. It warned that homebuyers who have used Help to Buy might not be aware of the financial risks if interest rates change. It also found that buyers who wanted to sell their property soon after purchase might find that they were in negative equity as new-build properties typically cost 15 per cent to 20 per cent more than equivalent “second-hand properties”.

Meg Hillier, Labour MP and chairwoman of the committee, said that the scheme had “increased the supply of new homes and boosted the bottom line of housebuilders.” She added: “It does not help make homes more affordable nor address other pressing housing problems in the sector such as the planning system or homelessness”.

“The scheme exposes both the government and consumers to significant financial risks were house prices or interest rates to change. Better consumer protection needs to be built into similar schemes in the future.”

Source: Times (pay wall)

“Give up your car and get free bus pass, transport campaigners say”

“Drivers should get free bus passes if they agree to take a car off the road, campaigners say.

The Campaign for Better Transport says the idea could reverse the trend of declining bus use and help take polluting diesel and petrol cars off our streets.

The idea comes in a “manifesto” – The Future of the Bus – which has gone to the government as part of a national strategy to re-invest in Britain’s most popular form of public transport.

Bus services provide the “backbone” of the local public transport network, but savage cuts are leading to a reduction in bus use and services have shrunk every year for a decade. …”

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/give-up-your-car-free-20068860

Trump, Obama, Netflix – and Taylor Wimpey in Cranbrook?

Owl is not just interested in East Devon, oh no. Owl has relatives in the United States and has been known to cast its beady eyes over the pond to see what the owls over there are up to.

Imagine Owl’s surprise when reading about President Trump’s latest spat with ex-President Obama about Obama’s contract with Netflix to see this Google “push” advert pop up:

Now, Owl knows this is a targeted, personalised ad – but who would have expected it to turn up here? And why does Taylor Wimpey think Owl wants one of their little boxes in Cranbrook?

Obviously desperate times for Taylor Wimpey and Cranbrook!