Well, as Mandy Rice-Davies would have said (look it up millenials): they would, wouldn’t they …
“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. …”
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)
“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. …”
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!
“A South West Council has agreed a £14.9m loan to its local NHS foundation trust for a new pathology centre.
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council last week agreed the loan, which, at an annual interest rate of 3.5%, will reap it £4.2m over the 15 year period of the loan.
The trust will use the cash to pay for a new pathology unit, which the trust hopes will lead to efficiency savings.
A report to councillors said that “it is important to emphasise that the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch NHS Foundation Trusts will be required to make £993k annual capital repayments and the associated interest payment regardless of their financial position, operational performance or success of the One Dorset Pathology service”.
Foundation trusts are not legally allowed to secure a loan against operational assets, so the loan will be unsecured, the report said.
However, it would be issued based on creditor assurance as laid out in Department of Health guidance.
A risk assessment carried out the council concluded that central government would pick up any liabilities if the trust got into financial difficulties and was dissolved.
“This means that all creditors of an FT are protected and all liabilities of all FTs are safeguarded,” the report said.
The trust will make repayments of just under £1m each year.
An interest rate of 3.5% has been based on a suggested rate of 2.75% plus the 0.75% EU state aid margin rate for organisations for strong and normal levels of collateral.
The council said that it would earn £2.4m more on the loan than if it invested it at the prevailing 15-year interest rate.
A one-off upfront arrangement fee of £45,000 will also be payable to cover due diligence and monitoring work.
The council has extended its normal five-year period for investments in order to allow the loan to be made.
The new pathology facility will either be built on land owned by the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospital at Castle Land East Bournemouth or by land purchased from the Council which is currently part of an adjoining site.
The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust provides healthcare to the residents of Bournemouth, Christchurch, East Dorset and part of the New Forest. It gained Foundation status in 2005.
The council follows two others which are known to have made similar loans to NHS trusts.
In 2014, Northumberland County Council finalised a loan of £100m to a local NHS trust, which used the money to buy itself out of its outstanding PFI contracts.
In May last year, Blackpool Council agreed a loan of £27.1m to Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to help restructure the trust’s debt.”