Week commencing 2 April 2018

In today's bulletin

• Over 50s own over 75 per cent of housing wealth in Britain
• Construction output drops sharply in March

• New report reveals dramatic shift in transport trends in UK cities
• Surge in solar investment reveals move away from fossil fuel-based power production

Property, Planning and Regeneration

Broadband an essential utility for new builds, says LGA

Housing developers should adopt a new “Fibre to the Premises” Kitemark to assure buyers that their home will be fit for the 21st Century, so said the Local Government Association on Monday (2 April).
At present, builders only need to pay for water and electricity connections, but the LGA also wants them to take responsibility for broadband connectivity.

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Over 50s own over 75 per cent of housing wealth in Britain

Over three quarters of housing equity in Britain is held by the over-50s, according to new research carried out by Savills.
Benefitting from years of strong house price growth, the over 65s alone own 43 per cent, while by contrast the under 35s account for less than six per cent of housing equity.

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Construction output drops sharply in March

March saw a sharp drop in construction output, with snowy weather, rising costs and Brexit uncertainty all to blame, according to the Federation of Master Builders
Data released by the PMI last month revealed a fall in output from 51.4 in February to 47.0 in March, where 50 is neutral

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Central London house prices fall 1.1 per in first two months

Average property prices in central London fell by 1.1 per cent in the first two months of 2018, despite a two per cent increase in sales volumes in the year to February, according to a report released on Tuesday (3 April) by Knight Frank.
The drop means property values are eight per cent below the peak values seen in August 2015, while average annual rental values also declined by 1.5 per cent.

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Non-London tenants spending more than half of income on rent

Housing tenants outside of London are spending an average of 52 per cent of disposable income on rent, according to research from Landbay.
The average rent outside of the capital has now reached £761, with the fastest rate of growth happening in the East Midlands.

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Property assets of 30-year-olds 17 times less than baby boomers

The property wealth gap in the UK has widened substantially over the past decade, according to figures released by the ONS on Thursday (5 April).
Those aged 60 to 62 held six times more property wealth than 30 to 32-year-olds during July 2006 to June 2008, but figures between July 2014 and June 2016 show this has increased to 17 times.

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Rural broadband a third of the speed of cities

Broadband speeds in rural areas are as much as three times slower than those in nearby cities, according to statistics published on Friday (6 April).
The County Councils Network’s analysis also showed that 72 per cent of counties are below the national average download speed, while a quarter have speeds which don’t met Ofcom’s definition of superfast (30mbit/s).

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UK road and rail networks not meeting the needs of businesses

A new survey has revealed that over a third of businesses do not believe that the UK’s road and rail networks are meeting their needs.
According to the British Chamber of Commerce, which released the research on Tuesday (3 April), the survey results underline the importance of governmental focus on the UK’s business environment.

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New report reveals dramatic shift in transport trends in UK cities

A report from the Urban Transport Group, published on Wednesday (4 April), has identified key shifts in transport trends in the UK.
Key trends identified include a shift to rail, a decline in bus passengers, and considerable growth in private hire vehicles.

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Energy and environment

New Landfill Tax rates introduced

Landfill Tax rates increased across the UK from 1 April, with the tax extended to include disposals at unauthorised waste sites in England and Northern Ireland.
The changes aim to support legitimate waste management businesses by creating a fairer tax system..

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UK oil and gas database planned for 2019 launch

The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has said that it has received significant support from the industry to create the UK’s first National Data Repository (NDR) for the sector.
The database, which is scheduled to be launched early next year, aims to preserve and regulate the country’s petroleum-related information.

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Surge in solar investment reveals move away from fossil fuel-based power production

According to the Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2018 report, released on Thursday (5 April) by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and its partners, solar energy dominated global investment in new power generation in 2017 like never before.
The report revealed a steady move away from fossil fuel-based power production to ‘green’ power sources.

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Other News

UK manufacturers increase activity

The UK’s manufacturing sector has maintained its activity levels in March, the latest IHS Markit/CIPs Purchasing Managers’ Index has shown.
However, the strong activity levels are dampened by a slowdown in the rate of growth for new orders and employment

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Medium size businesses lack support despite value to the economy

Businesses which have a yearly revenue of between £10 million and £300 million created more jobs in Britain over the last year than the nation’s large (FTSE350) and small companies put together, a report by accountancy and advisory firm BDO has revealed.
The report warns that mid-sized businesses risk being overlooked when Britain leaves the European Union, despite accounting for one third of the UK revenue (£1.3trillion).

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Cities invited to bid for 5G scheme

Bidding has opened for councils that want to be a trial location for the next generation of wireless technology aimed at improving safety, sustainability and efficiency in cities.
The government will select the successful location this summer.

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Robots probably won’t replace you at work, say economists

Only 12 per cent of UK workers are at high risk of being replaced by artificial intelligence over the next 20 years, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
The figure is much lower than previously thought.

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