For those of you who noted the name of the sender, read the headings, saw the word ‘retirement’ and thought ‘finally’, well, you’d be very much mistaken. Dream on! So why retirement? Because the word has featured prominently in the news this week. Firstly, there was the stark warning from the Pensions and Lifetime Association that more than half the 22.5 million people working in Britain at present are not putting enough money aside for their latter years. And then, two of England’s finest sportsmen called time on their careers. Liverpool and England legend, Steven Gerrard, decided that the standard of soccer in the US was just so bad that he couldn’t stick it out for another season. We think anyway! And then a few hours later Jenson Button announced that today’s Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi will be his last. Button was Formula 1 Champion in 2009 and has won fifteen races over his sixteen year career. Today’s race is his 305th, with only Rubens Barrichello (322) and Michael Schumacher (306) taking part in more. Given that Button has a victory rate of less than 5%, would it be too harsh of The Weekly to suggest that Jenson is already well equipped for his retirement, having spent his career going on leisurely Sunday afternoon drives?
Well that was a bit of a damp squib, wasn’t it? Not Tottenham’s Champions League campaign which ended on Tuesday night but rather the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement and its implications for the property industry. Before Thursday there was talk that the 3% stamp duty surcharge on second homes would be scrapped. But there was no change. Stamp duty didn’t even get a mention. Instead the key announcements were the banning of letting agents’ fees levied on tenants and the introduction of a new £2.3bn Infrastructure Fund. Both ideas have their merits, but will an estimated £337 saving in fees for each of the 4.3 million private sector tenants really have a positive impact on the UK’s rental market? Surely the costs will just be passed on to landlords, who in turn will recoup the costs through charging higher rents? And as for the new Infrastructure Fund, the idea of enabling the development of 100,000 new homes and helping to bankroll infrastructure projects in high-demand areas to unlock development again sounds highly commendable. The problem is that 100,000 new homes doesn’t even touch the sides. To meet the annual recommended target of 250,000 homes a year, the UK must build 685 homes a day. Over the past twelve years, UK house builders have fallen short by 210 homes per day!
With Black Friday now out the way, we have now entered the Christmas shopping season. Whilst presents can wait a few more weeks yet, your most pressing next Christmas-related assignment is on Thursday, the first day of December, when your loved ones will be expecting to receive an advert calendar from you. But if the thought of buying yet another cheap chocolate calendar doesn't excite you quite as much as it once did, you’ll be pleased to know there is now a plethora of alternative festive offerings in the shops from the likes of Lego, Playmobil and Yankee candles, plus more adult-focused offerings such as craft beer, wine and gin-filled advent calendars. For example, Drinks By The Dram offer a range of alcoholic advent calendars, most of which cost around £100. They also sell the Very Old & Rare Whisky version, which includes single malts from long-closed distilleries, multi-award-winning expressions and a whisky worth up to £19,000 a bottle. This advent calendar will set you back a whopping £9,995! To put this price into context, you could open (and eat) about 100,000 mediocre chocolate snowmen for that money!