By 2036 one-third of people in Devon will be over 65 – but don’t worry, they will have PLENTY of houses available!

Owl is puzzled. Our Local Enterprise Partnership says we need 50,000 new homes in the next 5 years (published in 2017 – so say until 2023):
(page 8)

Yet the Office for National Statistics says that the population of Devon will increase by just over 52,000 by 2026 (see below). Averaging a very low estimate of low 2 people per home that would mean we would need 26,000 new homes IN TOTAL in Devon in the next 8 years, not 50,000.

In fact, the same Office of National Statistics says average occupancy is 2.4 persons per household – so a more accurate figure would be 21,666 extra homes needed in Devon by 2026 – again NOT 50,000!

Someone has their sums badly wrong. 50,000 by 2023 or 21,666 by 2026.

Is it the Office of National Statistics or our LEP with its preponderance of developers and landowners?

“The population of Devon will increase by 52,100 by 2026, according to the Office for National Statistics.

In 2016 the population was 778,800. By 2026 it is expected to reach 830,900, a rise of 6.7%.

Every two years the ONS estimates how the population of England will change over the next 25 years.

Statisticians study birth and death rates, and look at how the county’s population is ageing.

In Devon the percentage of the population made up by pensioners is expected to rise from 24.8% in 2016 to 27.6% 10 years later. And by 2036 the ONS thinks over 65s will make up almost a third of the area’s residents. …”

“Pensioner households paying out nearly £9bn in income tax per year”

“Households with one or more people who are past state pension age are paying out nearly £9bn in income tax a year, analysis has found.

Of the 8.7m so called pensioner households in the UK, 1.4m of them contain a worker generating taxable income.

The research by pension and investment provider Aegon found that the number of people still working past state pension age had increased from 12 per cent in 1997/98 to 17 per cent today.

A growth in people working past pension age was accompanied by a rise in average earnings, as pensioner couples saw their weekly wages after inflation increase 30 per cent from £410 to £534 today.

Steven Cameron, pensions director at Aegon said:

“Gone are the days when reaching state pension age meant a total end to work. Many people are choosing to keep working and earning, perhaps by cutting back gradually on the amount of work they do, even once they’ve started taking their pension.

These people are contributing significant amounts to the nation’s finances through the tax they generate while also helping the broader economy through their work.”

Cameron also said that despite the current climate being favourable for pensioners, with many living on decent incomes, this “golden era for pensioners” could not last forever.

“Both final salary pensions and inflation busting increases to the state pension are unlikely to continue indefinitely so it’s important that society is changing with more people able to choose to work past traditional retirement ages,” he added.”

“Retail space returned to landlords in high street crisis, Colliers International reveals”

Owl says: would Tesco be calling for a “level playing field” between high street and online shopping if they had not just closed Tesco Direct – their online retailer!

“Retail space equivalent to about 180 football pitches has been handed back to landlords this year, in a stark sign of the challenges facing the high street.

A day after House of Fraser announced that it would be closing more than half of its stores, an analysis by Colliers International shows that 11.6 million sq ft of retail has been “lost” to administrations, company voluntary arrangements and planned store closures this year.

The property consultancy said that this included the two million sq ft of retail space that Marks & Spencer planned to offload by closing 100 stores.

Fears are growing for the future of high streets as more retailers struggle and try to close stores through CVAs — the contentious insolvency process that allows retailers to shut shops and cut rents at landlords’ expense. New Look, Carpetright and Mothercare are among those that have entered into CVAs this year and House of Fraser’s proposed CVA has infuriated many in the property industry. The British Property Federation, which lobbies for landlords, has called for an urgent inquiry into the practice.

However, retailers say that they are facing a toxic mix of high rents, rising wages and costs and a structural shift in the industry as more people shop online. Yesterday, Dave Lewis, chief executive of Tesco, told the BBC that the burden of business rates, which hits retailers with large store estates hard, was to blame for many of the present woes.

He said that Tesco paid more than £700 million a year in business rates and that “you need a level playing field . . . between an online digital world and a traditional retail store base model”.

Dan Simms, co-head of retail agency at Colliers, said that the retail space at risk of closure this year was already more than the 10.7 million sq ft handed back in 2016, the year BHS collapsed.

“What we are seeing now are a lot more retailers closing stores,” he said. “It is much more broadly based so it feels like things are markedly worse.”

Analysis by Harper Dennis Hobbs shows that about 25 million sq ft of retail space was lost between 2008 and 2010 …”

“Rural businesses say the government’s review of national parks could fuel economic growth in the countryside”

This will be a REAL test of what EDDC councillors’ priorities: a clean, green environment (remember Diviani promising this years ago!)

or more concrete.

“… Country Land and Business Association president Tim Breitmeyer said boosting economic growth and productivity in designated landscapes should be at the centre of the review.

“Designated landscapes are crucial to the wellbeing of the nation, providing opportunities not only for visitors but most especially for those who live and work there,” he said.

The crucial challenge is to strike the right balance between ensuring designation that delivers natural beauty, alongside encouraging the right types of economic activity.

Together, this more positive balance will sustain these areas and create thriving communities, said Mr Brietmeyer.

“Most businesses within designated landscapes experience significant opposition and hostility to development of any kind.”

Success would see more landowners, users, park authorities and conservation boards working together to identify opportunities to deliver sensitive development, said Mr Breitmeyer.

This could help improve the use and enjoyment of these unique areas, he added.

Two-thirds of people in England live within 30 minutes of a National Park or AONB, with visitors contributing more than £6bn each year to the local economy.


Emma Marrington, senior rural policy campaigner at the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), described the review as “potentially game-changing”.

It was an opportunity to shine the spotlight on national parks and AONBs – and to consider whether there should be new additions to the current network of designated landscapes. …”

Young people stuck in low-paid, insecure jobs

And that’s why “great employment figures” are not to be trusted.

“… The number of 21- to 30-year-olds working in precarious, often low-paid work has exploded, according to the report. In that 20-year period, numbers of young people working in private social care has increased by 104%, while in hotels and restaurants the figure is 80%. The generational pay gap has increased in real terms from £3,140 in 1998 to £5,884 in 2017 for someone working a 40-hour week. …”

“Oligarchs’ ‘influence and dirty money threaten UK’”

“A rising Tory MP warns that government inaction on laundering is a gift to Putin and has let rich Russians think they own Britain.

The Tory chairman of the foreign affairs select committee has launched a withering attack on the government’s failure to tackle the effect of Russia’s “dirty money” on Britain, ahead of the publication of a damning report this week.

Tom Tugendhat, one of the Conservative Party’s brightest hopes, criticised the UK’s “lethargic response” to Russian money-laundering and organised crime that has been enabled by London’s financial and property markets.

The MP said the government had failed to deal with oligarchs who cleaned their illicit wealth by buying townhouses in Belgravia and Mayfair, while also allowing Russian companies to raise money in London despite being under sanctions.

Writing on The Sunday Times website, Tugendhat said the regime of President Vladimir Putin had been emboldened: “Our lethargic response . . . is taken as proof that we don’t dare stop them. This is no longer just a financial problem,” he writes. “Over the years Moscow has turned from being a corrupt state to an exporter of instability. London’s markets are enabling the Kremlin’s efforts.”

Tugendhat spoke out ahead of an excoriating select committee report tomorrow entitled Moscow’s Gold: Russian Corruption in the UK. The findings will embarrass Theresa May’s government, which has professed to take a tough line with Moscow over the poisoning of the Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury.

However, the MP for Tonbridge and Malling points out that Gazprom, the Russian gas giant, was able to “trade bonds in London days after the attempted murders”.

He said there was a link between “oligarchs’ wealth and the power of the Kremlin” and highlighted evidence to his committee that some rich Russians now believe “they own Britain”. “Russian corruption and influence has become a matter of national security,” he writes.

Tugendhat is particularly concerned about lax controls fostering Russian influence including the London flotation of EN+, an energy company controlled by Oleg Deripaska, one of Russia’s wealthiest men who is closely linked to Putin.

MI6 is known to have been enraged when the firm was able to use the London Stock Exchange last year to raise an estimated £1bn. The company, chaired by Lord Barker, a former Tory energy minister, has been linked to the Russian military, including the production of a Buk missile that Dutch investigators said downed flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2014, killing 298 people.

The float was waved through by regulators despite EN+ being part-owned by VTB, a Russian state-owned bank subject to EU and US sanctions. The bank lent the firm £697m to help fund the flotation.

Deripaska was himself hit by tough US sanctions imposed after the Skripal poisoning. Last week, he stepped down from the EN+ board in an attempt to free it from sanctions.

“Oligarchs, who depend on Putin no matter how rich they are, have been encouraged to invest in everything from real estate to pharmaceuticals, providing Russia with leverage,” writes Tugendhat.

“It isn’t just about theft through tax evasion but enabling entire nations to be robbed of their democratic rights.”

Garry Kasparov, the Putin critic and former world chess champion, said the flow of corrupt money from Russia into the West was part of a “subtle” Kremlin strategy to “launder and spread influence”. Kasparov, who stood for the presidency in his homeland in 2007, also criticised Europe for failing to wean itself off Russian oil and gas reserves following the war in Ukraine in 2014. He said this had handed Putin leverage over the EU.

“Much of Europe still depending on Russian energy over four years after Putin invaded a European country is damning, as is the willingness of many in Europe to continue with pipeline plans that would only increase Putin’s leverage and cash flow,” Kasparov said. “It’s a war, and your enemy cannot be your partner at the same time if you want to win.”

Source “The Sunday Times” (pay wall)

When is a not worker a worker?

A friend of mine has lost his job at RBS a month or so back. Has to sign on every other week, but is not unemployed as long as he proves that he is looking for work. He has to ‘work’ 16 hrs a week looking for work to get his NI paid. But he’s not unemployed; he’s just not working.”

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