Rugby Struggles | Buy Land | Back to School

This weekend marked the start of the new Premiership Rugby season, and whilst the twelve clubs will be hoping for success on the pitch, there is no doubt either that they will be hoping for better fortunes off it too. Although attendances continue to increase, evidenced by the average crowd virtually tripling since the start of professionalism, the leading English clubs and their financial backers face a constant battle to reduce wage inflation and control costs. The most recent published numbers indicate that rugby remains a licence for backers to lose money. Cumulative losses for 2017-18 are expected to be £35m for the twelve clubs, an average of almost £3m each. Exeter was the only Premiership club to turn a profit. The cold reality is that the clubs are no better off today than they were back when the Premiership started 20 years ago, whilst we shouldn’t forget that the likes of Bedford, Richmond, London Scottish, Bristol and, most recently, London Welsh have all gone to the wall during that period. Maybe it’s time for the sport’s governing body, the RFU, to offer more assistance? Given they are charging up to £195 for a ticket to watch England play New Zealand in November, they surely can’t be short of a few quid to ‘prop up’ the domestic game.

It’s a first for The Weekly, but after 233 editions, we have found a reason to be able to quote Mark Twain. “Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.” And according to an ONS report released this week, Mr Twain appears to have been absolutely spot on. Official figures show that the UK’s net worth rose by £492bn between 2016 and 2017 to £10.2tn, with the lion’s share of the increase accounted for by a £450bn jump in the value of land. This rise continues a trend since 2012 that has pushed the average assets held by each Brit to £155,000, up £6,000 from 2016. The ONS report states consistent increases in the value of land mean it now accounts for 51% of the UK’s net worth, 12% more than the G7 average of 39%, as well as 9% above runner-up France and nearly double Germany’s figure of 26%. Whilst this all sounds like positive news for the landowners amongst The Weekly readership, the steady increase in land values is expected to trigger further calls for a land value tax or new rules allowing local authorities to reap the rise in values by allowing them buy land earmarked for development. 

It’s September and it’s a bit depressing, isn’t it? Our summer holidays may already be starting to feel like a distant memory. The question of whether the heating can be switched on has probably already been asked. X Factor (with Robbie Williams and his wife) is back on our TV screens, not to mention how much busier the trains and roads will be tomorrow morning. In fact, one in fifteen of us will be affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) between September and April. However, looking on the plus side, September means it’s (finally) time for the kids to go back to school, although even that comes at a price! Parents spend close to £1 billion on back-to-school costs each year, making it the UK's third biggest seasonal shopping event behind Black Friday and Christmas. Last year, £436 million was spent on school uniforms and shoes alone, whilst computing equipment and lunch boxes totalled £143 million. The average parent can expect to fork out £273 per child! See, we told you September was a bit depressing. It is likely to get even more so if you’ve still got that back-to-school shop to do today!