Windfall taxes on energy companies

Should the government impose windfall taxes in the energy companies?

The Business Secretary, John Hutton, will not answer the question save as to say that the government is looking at all the options. That is a hint that the windfall tax may be a possibility. The idea that is being strung up the flagpole to see if anyone will salute it, is that the energy companies – the electricity and gas suppliers and the oil companies should be relieved of some of their record profits by the taxman, who would, Robin Hood like, pay them over to people who cannot afford soaring energy bills. Continue reading

The Government abolishes the Merton Rule now Housebuilders rule, OK?

Last November Ms Yvette Cooper is a graduate of Oxford University where she studied PPE. Perhaps the philosophy part of the course concentrated on Machiavellian thinking because her statements could have been composed by the man who wrote “the Prince”.

Last November Ms Cooper having run a flag up the flagpole and found that no one saluted it, said she would haul it down again. Many people believed her, but she spoke with forked tongue. Continue reading

Investment turmoil and solar systems – the true return on capital

The financial markets are in turmoil. Some banks are going through difficult times, as recent happenings at the Northern Rock and Bear Sterns demonstrate. Some analysts fear that the worse is yet to come as US dollar rates fall and interest rates throughout the world are turning down, producing lower returns on investment.

If you have money on the stock exchange you will find that although most stocks are still producing income, the capital value of them is declining as markets fear that the financial turmoil will hit equities. Property values are falling. Turmoil in the world financial markets causes turmoil in the economies of individuals. Your savings, with which you hoped to provide for your old age, are growing less valuable, your house is getting less valuable, and your income from your savings is declining and in some cases moving into negative areas.  It can be hard to figure out what you should do.  Continue reading

Home Information packs and energy efficient homes

People have been grumbling about Home Information Packs. These are surveys which a seller must buy and then have available to potential buyers when a home is marketed. “HIPS” are supposed to contain lots of useful information but enquiries show that less than 7% of potential buyers actually bother to read the Home Information Pack, so they would seem at first sight to be simply an unnecessary additional cost on selling your home.

A “HIP” has to contain the following information, all at the cost of the seller. It must have an index, an energy performance certificate, a sale statement, standard searches and evidence of title. Continue reading