It has been a really mixed week for English sports teams. It started last Sunday with England being crowned Six Nations Champions and ended last night with them claiming a first Grand Slam in thirteen years with a 31-21 victory over France in Paris. Sandwiched between the rugby successes has been Manchester City and Liverpool progressing in Europe, whilst Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United all decided to concentrate on domestic matters! This week also saw the start of the World T20 in India where England started their campaign with a crushing defeat to the West Indies to then bounce back on Friday with a remarkable run chase to beat South Africa. The origins of T20 Cricket can be traced back to England in the late 1990s when it was launched to provide a new, stimulating form of cricket for those fans who had been put off by the longer versions. Nearly two decades on cricket has been transformed beyond recognition. The players are fitter, stronger and more athletic than they have ever been. Ramp shots, scoops, slower ball bouncers have all found their way into the skill sets. The only thing that doesn’t appear to have changed though is England's inability to perform consistently at a World Cup. Afghanistan are next!
To paraphrase the title of Jamie Lawson's hit song, the property industry 'wasn't expecting that'. The newspapers and industry journals usually manage to eek out a few ‘earlies’ of what will be included in the Budget, but the decision to overhaul the level of stamp duty on commercial property transactions was certainly not something that was expected. The changes mean that all freehold transactions below £1.05m will now attract the same or less stamp duty. However, for those transactions above £1.05m, which could be termed 'the institutional market', the stamp duty changes saw an effective 1% devaluation overnight and increased the expected tax take by over £500m by 2017/2018. This at a time when the market is already grappling with the possible repercussions of a Brexit. Given how long the phones were engaged at the industry's biggest valuer on Wednesday afternoon, it's fair to assume that George Osborne wasn't the toast of the bars of Cannes and Cheltenham.
What did you get up to last night? Watch Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway? Go to the cinema? Head out for a meal or let your hair down with a few drinks before hitting a club? If the new inflation basket is to be believed, you probably spent your evening at home sitting around sipping Baileys or drinking 'pod made' coffee! This week the ONS updated their basket of goods which they use to calculate consumer price inflation. Their basket is updated annually with different items to reflect changing shopping trends and this year downloadable computer games and software including word processing, antivirus and web design were all added, alongside women’s leggings, microwave rice, cream liqueurs and coffee pods. Among those items excluded from the list were CD-ROMs, rewritable DVDs, electrical sockets and nightclub entry fees. Whether we want to believe it or not, the nightclub is falling out of fashion. In 2005 there were 3,144 across the country. Today there are just 1,733. So, if you did spend last night on the sofa sipping Baileys, you can probably take some comfort from the fact that your nearest nightclub has probably closed down anyway.