Budleigh Shandford “Care Home” back on sale

A number of correspondents have pointed out that the former Budleigh Salterton care home “Shandford” is back on the market with guide price of £1.1M

Owl received reports from reliable sources that it was purchased by Julie Rhodes of Agency Assistance at the sale by auction in December 2020.

The  guide price at the auction in December 2020 was £750,000. If these two guide price are representative of sale prices. They indicate the owner is seeking a quick profit well in excess of a quarter of a million pounds. 

Two correspondents have raised the questions as to how much money has been received from the December sale, where Abbeyfield were the vendors; and how this money has been “returned to the Town”. They gather that a new “Shandford Trust” (Charity No 1192048) has been created but under whose authority?

The charity commission lists Christopher Haward Davis as Chair of trustees. 

To recapitulate the history of Shandford:

Shandford started as a care home in 1958 for local people funded by the people of Budleigh Salterton. In 2012, the trustees ceded it to Abbeyfield.

The closure is based on Abbeyfield’s declared aim of “freeing up assets” as it changes its business model to concentrate on larger homes; and County Councillor Christine Channon’s handpicked adviser, Chris Davis, who claims that Shandford was no longer viable. Owl understands Chris Davis’ report has never been made public.

A local community effort to take back control, failed despite the intervention of newly elected Simon Jupp MP.

During this process Owl received plausible arguments that showed that there were grounds to challenge the case for non-viability.

Rees-Mogg casts doubt on suitability of privilege committee to investigate Johnson’s conduct

“It’s chaired by a Labour party politician”…“I’d bear that in mind.”

In a signal that the Conservatives will whip their MPs firmly against the motion, the Cabinet Office minister Jacob Rees-Mogg cast doubt on the privilege committee’s suitability to investigate Johnson’s conduct.

He said it was a “distinguished body of the House of Commons but it’s chaired by a Labour party politician”, and added: “I’d bear that in mind.” The committee is always chaired by an opposition politician.

Tories shaping up to repeat last November’s Owen Patterson “vote of shame”? – Owl

Canada bans foreign home buyers for two years

The Canadian government will ban foreign homebuyers for two years, AP reported Monday.

Shawna Chen www.axios.com

Why it matters: Canada’s housing market is one of the hottest in the world, with prices jumping by more than 20% last year, per the CBC.

Details: The ban is aimed at “[c]urbing unfair practices that drive up the price of housing, in order to level the playing field for young and middle-class Canadians,” according to a news release from Trudeau’s office.

  • Some exceptions will be made for permanent residents and foreign students.
  • The government will also impose higher taxes on people who sell their home within a year.

Rents in south west up 18 per cent since 2020

Rents have rocketed by 18 per cent in the south west since the pandemic struck, new data reveals. That’s as high as any other UK region.

Oscar Dayus www.bristolpost.co.uk

The average rent in the south west is now £1,202 per month, according to the New Statesman, citing Rightmove data. Only London, the east of England, and the south east of England had higher average rents.

However, it’s the increase where renters in our region will be feeling the pinch. An 18 per cent rise is the same as Wales and the north west, and more than every other part of the UK.

London actually saw the lowest increase, of five per cent, over the two years. The next lowest was the south east, where rents rose by 12 per cent.

Across the UK, average rents are up 15 per cent in the last two years. The House of Commons committee of public accounts concluded this week that more and more low earners now rent privately; it also pointed out that private renters spend a greater proportion of their income (32 per cent) on housing than anyone else, with homeowners spending 18 per cent and social renters 27 per cent.

The findings come at a time of stagnating wages and rising cost of living. Inflation that includes housing costs (CPIH) was at 6.2 per cent in March, and is expected to rise further this year.

In fact, wages are falling when inflation is taken into account. In the past year, regular pay is down by one per cent after inflation.

Another day, another “apology” whilst trousering £250,000 salary

Speaking at a hearing before MPs, the chief executive and co-founder Hayden Wood apologised for the “way things turned out with Bulb”.

“We have estimated that the costs of all these energy supplier failures is going to cost in excess £2.4bn. That is about £94 per household. And that does not include the cost of the failure of Bulb, which is being treated separately under the special administration regime.”

Are we all being taken for fools? – Owl

Boss of collapsed Bulb Energy criticised for £250,000 salary funded by taxpayers

Jane Clinton www.theguardian.com 

The boss of collapsed company Bulb Energy has been criticised for continuing to draw a £250,000 salary, funded by UK taxpayers.

Once the seventh-biggest energy supplier, Bulb was effectively nationalised in November 2021 after collapsing amid the surge in global energy prices. That left the taxpayer with a potential bill of up to £3bn, making it the biggest state bailout since the collapse of the Royal Bank of Scotland in 2008.

Speaking at a hearing before MPs, the chief executive and co-founder Hayden Wood apologised for the “way things turned out with Bulb”. Bulb was placed into a rare “special administration”, giving it access to government funds to keep it supplying gas and electricity to its 1.7 million household customers.

Wood, who had provided management consultancy to the energy sector before he co-founded Bulb Energy, said: “My salary now in the last year is £250,000 a year.”

He added that the administrators for “both Bulb and Simple [Bulb’s parent company] asked me to stay on to help. The reason I stayed on was because we wanted to support customers [and] have a smooth transition into special administration.

“The things we are doing within the company is to try and minimise costs for consumers, minimise costs for taxpayers, and hopefully effect a sale of the company out of special administration to again reduce costs for government.”

However, the Labour MP Andy McDonald, a member of the business select committee, asked whether it was “morally justifiable” for taxpayers to be paying his £250,000 salary.

Wood responded: “I think everything we are doing right now is to try and complete a sale of the company so that we can minimise the cost to taxpayers and minimise the disruption to consumers.”

But McDonald said it was “staggering” that he was continuing to get paid “the same salary that you were pre-collapse”.

Wood said he had put “all his personal savings since 2015” into the company, which he founded in that same year with Amit Gudka. He said it had been an “extremely challenging time” for the energy market.

Charlotte Nichols, a Labour MP and committee member, quoted the former chief executive of Ofgem, Dermot Nolan, who said “for Bulb to blame anybody but themselves for its collapse is not reasonable”.

Wood said: “I completely agree. We at Bulb should take responsibility for how the business failed.”

He added: “Lessons will need to be learned and I hope that is what we can do.”

McDonald told the Guardian: “It is staggering that the chief executive of Bulb Energy continues to receive a salary of £250,000 a year at the taxpayers’ expense.

“There is no justification for Hayden Wood drawing such an enormous salary, particularly given the disastrous mismanagement of the company, which has led to the government bringing the company into public ownership, and is set to cost of the taxpayer as much as £3bn.

“The secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy must step in and put an end to this outrageous case of corporate welfare.”

A BEIS spokesperson said: “Bulb’s administrators have agreed to keep Mr Wood temporarily in place to ensure a smooth handover and sales process.

“Mr Wood is paid for this work under his employment contract with Simple Energy, the parent company of Bulb, in a separate administration process over which the government has no influence.

“The special administrator of Bulb remains legally obligated to keep costs of the administration process as low as possible. The government will seek to recoup costs at a later date, ensuring that we get maximum value for money for taxpayers.”