Brexit Jitters Hit the Stalled Housing Market

The government’s own declared target is to build 300 000 new homes a year – but instead of building more, the number of new housing starts is down on last year. The number of new homes registered by housebuilders with the National House Building Council (NHBC), representing 80% of the national total, was just 159 617: not much more than half the annual target.

From the Guardian:

Brexit jitters hit London housing market as newbuilds decline sharply

Housebuilding in the UK was down slightly in 2018 on the 2017 figure, from 160,396 to 159,617.
 Housebuilding in the UK was down slightly in 2018 on the 2017 figure, from 160,396 to 159,617. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA

Housebuilding declined sharply in London and the Midlands last year as political and economic uncertainty around the shape of Brexit hit the housing market, according to industry figures.

The number of new homes in London registered by housebuilders with the National House Building Council (NHBC) in 2018 fell 10% from the previous year to 16,069, the biggest annual drop since 2016. In the east Midlands and West Midlands, registrations were also down 10%, to 13,447 and 13,087 respectively following two strong years.

Source: Brexit jitters hit London housing market as newbuilds decline sharply | Business | The Guardian

The Myth of “Cancer”: Big Fleas, and Littler Fleas.

Big fleas have little fleas
upon their backs to bite ’em.
And little fleas have littler fleas
… and so, ad infinitum

-Ogden Nash

This is not to suggest that “cancer” does not exist – obviously it does, as I know very well from personal experience. However, it is a myth that “cancer” exists as a single syndrome.  A few weeks ago, I read a newspaper opinion piece by Simon Jenkins, arguing precisely this point: we should stop talking about “cancer” as a generic, and instead speak of a particular cancer.

The more I learn about cancer, with particular reference to my own variant, a GIST (GastroIintestinal Stromal Tumour), the more I am reminded of the above verse by Ogden Nash. Just as “big fleas” have “little fleas”, so “cancer” is an umbrella term for a range of sub-types: carcinomas, lymphomas, and more. Then just as “little fleas” have “littler fleas”, so these divisions in turn have smaller sub-divisions: sarcomas for instance, which I know best, include GISTs, but also bone sarcomas and other soft-tissue sarcomas.  As for “ad infinitum”, GISTs too have a range of variants, based on the specific mutations, such as the c-kit mutations Exon 11 (mine), Exon 9, Exon 13, Exon 17.  In addition, there are a range of mutations to the PDGFRA gene, collectively known as “wild type”, because they are not so easily classified, But this term is itself misleading, because “wild type” is not a single GIST type, but an umbrella term of its own.

“…… and so, ad infinitum”.

Can we now stop thinking in terms of “cancer”, and be more specific with our language?

 

 

 

 “Wealth Taxes”: Not Easy, but Possible.

From Resolution Foundation:

How wealth taxes can raise billions more without scaring any horses

Raising taxes is never easy. Raising taxes with the government’s slim parliamentary majority is harder still. Raising taxes on wealth in those circumstances, given our diverging senses of fairness is…  not a walk in the park. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need doing, and the good news is that significant progress can be made despite these constraints.

Source: How wealth taxes can raise billions more without scaring any horses – Resolution Foundation

Residents Protest Surrey CC Cuts

From Haslemere Herald:

Save Haslemere children’s centre protest

HASLEMERE and Hindhead-based protesters joined Saturday’s Save Our Services in Surrey ‘Austerity Kills’ march and rally in Woking.

Objectors to Surrey County Council (SCC) proposals to close 31 children’s centres included Claire Matthes, who works at Haslemere’s Tennyson’s children’s centre, which supports 880 families but has been earmarked for closure.

Claire said: “Haslemere, like much of Surrey, is a beautiful, leafy area of the country, which belies the fact many families and individuals struggle with the issues of daily life.

Source: | News | Haslemere Herald