Cricket's Coming Home | Healthcare Warnings | Any Talent?

With the tournament starting on Thursday at the Oval, England’s cricket World Cup preparations have suffered a couple of late blows, not just seeing their captain suffer a fractured finger in training on Friday but also losing a warm-up game to Australia yesterday afternoon down in Southampton. England, unprecedentedly, are the tournament favourites. They are the ICC’s ODI Number 1 ranked team after all, constituting an incredible turnaround given the team was so dire at the last tournament in Australia/New Zealand four years ago. In fact, England have been pretty awful in every cricket World Cup since they lost the final to Pakistan in Melbourne back in 1992. That’s twenty-seven years and six tournaments of hurt. It’s certainly not as bad as the nation’s football team but it’s still definitely time for them to put right the fact that they have never won the World Cup. Their kit manufacturers are even trying to help them. New Balance have turned back the clock to the 1992 tournament for inspiration by designing a playing kit similar to that worn by the likes of Messrs Botham, Hick, Gooch, and DeFreitas. Fingers crossed the 2019 team will go one better and the names of Roy, Root, Buttler and Stokes will all be rolling off the tongue in the lead up to 2056 tournament. 

The specialist/alternative sectors continue to see strong activity, reflecting ongoing appetite for long income deals and diversification. In fact, according to LSH, for the first time on record, alternatives collectively accounted for more than half of total volume in Q1 2019. Whilst hotels and leisure were the standout sector, with £2.6bn of assets changing hands, investment interest in the healthcare sector has never been stronger, with a range of stakeholders seeking exposure to UK assets. Specialist healthcare REITs and niche funds continue to raise capital and grow their portfolios, and according to Knight Frank, the last six months have also seen escalating interest from overseas investors, epitomised by the pan European REIT, AEDIFICA, acquiring a 93-home portfolio for £450 million. Despite the compelling demographic case, investment in healthcare should not be made without due care and attention. From an operational perspective, staffing remains a huge challenge for operators. Data from Knight Frank’s Care Home Trading Performance Index shows that staff costs have risen 44% over the last decade and now represent on average 58% of income. Understandably these salary increases are impacting the bottom line. Throw in carer and nurse shortages, restricted local authority budgets, all at a time of continuous political and economic uncertainty, it’s not hard to see investors upping their DD on this burgeoning sector. 

The end of May Bank Holiday can mean many things to many people. The start of yet another half term to fill with activities for the kids? The fact that Love Island will be starting again soon (3rd June)? The start of National BBQ Week tomorrow? That the golf clubs really need to find a way out of the shed? Oh, and that next week’s TV schedule is going to be dominated by the thirteenth series of Britain’s Got Talent. A dream or a nightmare? You decide. The live shows get underway tomorrow and run until Friday. The final will then air next Sunday to establish whether Britain does in fact have any talent. We can be sure to see singers, dancers, magicians all looking to follow in the footsteps of huge household names like Paul Potts, Susan Boyle, Diversity and Lost Voice Guy! Tempted to tune in? Well, last night there was a fifty-six-year old Yoga teacher who dressed up as Theresa May and mocked her dodgy 'Maybot' dance moves in an unexpected strip-routine at the start of the show. Cringeworthy, not to mention awkward timing given her tearful resignation on Friday morning. Fingers crossed this wasn't a coded message from Simon Cowell that he is planning 'to do a Donald' and throw his hat into the ring for selection as our next Prime Minister!