Thursday, July 26, 2007

Getting wealthier? Too many eggs in the housing basket

With manufacturing and jobs being outsourced we will be left as peons
in overpriced brick boxes, we might just be able to eke out a living selling Charles and Diana
mugs to wealthy Chinese tourists.Are the capitalists just stupid and motivated
by short term greed ?
'Sir' Pigby Jones of the CBI seems to epitomise the vices of the breed.

Daily Telegraph

Houses 'account for 60pc of the UK's wealth'

Houses now make up three fifths of Britain's wealth, the
highest proportion recorded, according to the latest official figures,
demonstrating our increasing reliance on the value of our properties.

Residential property totalled an astonishing £3,915 billion last
year, figures published by the Office of National Statistics yesterday
showed. This accounted for 60 per cent of the nation's total net worth
of £6,525 billion.

During most of the 1990s, houses made up less than half the nation's
total value and even back in 1987 - when the ONS first started
compiling these figures and when we were in the grip of a house price boom -
residential properties made up just 52 per cent of Britain's total

The total value of Britain's housing stock increased by 10 per cent
last year, a sharp increase on the previous year, when the value
climbed by less than four per cent.

The official figures have yet to reflect increasing concerns among
economists that the housing market is about to come off the boil after
12 months of very strong growth.

Yesterday, Rightmove, the country's biggest online estate agent,
said the average asking price in England and Wales had gained just 0.3 per
cent compared to the previous month - the slowest pace so far this

The ONS figures have been published as part of the Capital Stocks
publication - an annual checklist of the wealth of the nation which
tots up the value of private properties as well as company and Government

The value of the British residential property equates to £162,000
for each household - below the figures published by the Halifax, Britain's
biggest mortgage lender, which reckons the average house is worth
nearly £200,000.

However, the ONS figures include one-bedroom flats whereas Halifax
concentrates solely on houses.

The figures also show that, despite Gordon Brown's plans to sell
£48 billion worth of Government assets - from embassy buildings to other
treasures - the value of central Government's buildings, machinery and
vehicles continues to climb steadily. In total the Government owns
£686 billion worth of assets - or £23,000 for each taxpayer.

Wealth of a Nation
£3,915billion of residential property £613billion of factory machinery and companies’ equipment £334 billion of local government buildings £161 billion of ships, aircraft
and other vehicles £54 billion of farm land and buildings £38billion
of kitchen gadgets, TVs and other household machines
Daily Telegraph

Record numbers work past retirement age

The number of people working past the state pension age is
higher than ever before, according to the latest figures.

Men over the age of 65 and women over 60 account for record numbers
of people taking up new jobs, a survey by the Office for National
Statistics has found.

The figures showed that people above the pension age, 65 for men and
60 for women, make up just under half of the 180,000 people who were
hired over the last year.

There are an estimated 1.2 million people of pensionable age in
work, of which two thirds are women.

Experts have attributed the rise to growing concerns over the
pensions crisis and many older people feel obliged to take up menial jobs.

At the same time, fewer employers are offering their workers
incentives to leave early, while so-called "golden handshake" payments
leading up to retirement are increasingly rare. About 11 per cent of
people above the pension age are now thought to be working compared
with just eight per cent in the mid 1990s.

Chris Ball, chief executive of The Age and Employment Network, said:
"Our impression is that many people are accepting jobs below their
qualifications and capabilities, often out of economic necessity. This
remains a waste of important resources and is, frankly, demeaning to
older people."

Sam Mercer, chief executive of the Employers Forum on Age, said
employers were more willing to take on older workers following the
introduction of anti-age discrimination laws last October.
She added: "As people live longer there is a realisation that they
can't afford a 30-year retirement."

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