Housing market: Number of buy-to-let landlords reaches record high despite tax hike

Government has introduced 3% Stamp Duty levy, new stress tests for home loans, and ended mortgage interest tax relief
The number of buy-to-let investors in the UK rose to a record high of 2.5 million in the latest tax year, new research shows.
The increase of 5 per cent on the previous year comes despite the introduction of a host of extra taxes and regulations on the sector.
In recent years, the government has brought in a 3 per cent Stamp Duty levy, new stress tests for home loans, and ended mortgage interest tax relief.
Read more Dropping UK house prices won’t dent our confidence in buy-to-let The number of landlords has increased 27 per cent in the past five years, up from 1.97 million in 2011-12, research by London-focused estate agent Ludlow Thompson found.
Landlords now own an average of 1.8 buy-to-let properties each – a figure that has risen for the fifth consecutive year.
The data suggests that landlords continue to see residential property, especially in London, as..

Brexit: UK economy will be worse than all other G7 advanced countries this year, City bosses warn

Senior executives at more than 100 banks, as well as asset managers, insurers and private equity firms express concerns about Britain’s prospects
UK economic growth will lag behind all other G7 advanced nations this year, the world’s biggest financial firms have warned.
Almost three-quarters of 100 senior executives surveyed said they worry that UK economic growth will be weaker this year than in any other advanced economy – a dramatic worsening of sentiment compared to a year ago when just 23 per cent held that view.
A majority of bosses at banks, as well as asset managers, insurers and private equity firms expressed concerns about the economy’s prospects for the coming year.
Read more India ‘not in a rush’ to sign trade deal with Britain after Brexit Half of the executives surveyed said they expect UK growth to stay at 2017 levels, while 29 per cent expect it to worsen and a fifth believe growth will improve.
Brexit was the most commonly cited risk dragging on the UK’s eco..

Amid Fears of Trade War, Trump Predicts China Will Relent

Amid Fears of Trade War, Trump Predicts China Will Relent Photo President Trump tweeted on Sunday morning that he and President Xi Jinping of China will “always be friends.” Credit Tom Brenner/The New York Times Amid fears of an escalating trade war between the United States and China, President Trump tweeted Sunday morning that he and President Xi Jinping of China will “always be friends, no matter what happens with our dispute on trade.”
“China will take down its Trade Barriers because it is the right thing to do,” he added. “Taxes will become Reciprocal & a deal will be made on Intellectual Property. Great future for both countries!”
A White House spokeswoman on Sunday said the reciprocal “taxes” mentioned in the tweet referred to “tariff levels and also to reciprocal trade more generally.”
It was unclear whether the president was suggesting that progress had been made in solving the trade dispute between the world’s two biggest economies. Fears of an escalation intensified last wee..

The Shift: Facebook’s Other Critics: Its Viral Stars

Facebook’s Other Critics: Its Viral Stars Photo Credit Glenn Harvey For the past two years, Ryan Hamilton has been getting Facebook-famous. Mr. Hamilton, 28, manages a network of Facebook pages and makes viral videos for his “Hammy T.V.” channel — mostly lowbrow fare with titles like “Shocking Pit Bull Social Experiment” and “World’s Hottest Pepper on Girlfriend’s Thong” — that have earned him a level of popularity typically associated with Kardashians and BuzzFeed food clips.
But to hear Mr. Hamilton tell it, Facebook has failed him.
“It’s a complete mess,” he said. “No one trusts Facebook.”
Unlike the lawmakers who will grill Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, in congressional testimony this week, Facebook influencers generally aren’t bothered by data privacy issues or Russian propaganda campaigns. Their concerns are closer to home.
They say that the company’s recent decision to emphasize stories shared by friends and family as well as trusted news outlets — part of the com..

Shell predicted dangers of climate change in 1980s and knew fossil fuel industry was responsible

Authors of confidential documents envisage changes to sea level and weather 'larger than any that have occurred over the last 12,000 years'
Oil giant Shell was aware of the consequences of climate change, and the role fossil fuels were playing in it, as far back as 1988, documents unearthed by a Dutch news organisation have revealed.
They include a calculation that the oil company’s products alone were responsible for 4 per cent of total global carbon emissions in 1984.
They also predict that changes to sea levels and weather would be “larger than any that have occurred over the last 12,000 years”.
Read more ‘Missing’ nitrogen discovery could revolutionise climate science Washington's cherry blossoms bloom later this year Fiji’s existence threatened by ‘frightening new era’ of climate change Warm water rapidly melting Antarctica from below due to climate change As a result, the documents foresee impacts on living standards, food supplies and other major social, po..

Brexit: Nearly 20 banks have committed to Frankfurt since vote to leave EU, German officials say

Nearly 20 banks have committed to launching new European Union hubs in Frankfurt since the Brexit vote, according to German officials.
The economy minister for the state of Hesse, where Frankfurt is situated, said the city was confident it would attract more, with another 60 firms yet to decide on additional EU headquarters.
“We've got 18 entities… that have committed,” Tarek Al-Wazir said during his most recent trip to London.​
Read more UK passengers have stronger rights to flight compensation post Brexit India 'not in a rush' to sign trade deal with Britain after Brexit US lays out Brexit trade deal 'wish list' of regulations to scrap “There will be other entities who are in the decision process now, so we're in contact with some of them – of course, we're not able to say who they are, but at the end if you compare everything that happened since the Brexit referendum and if you compare the real decisions made, I think we are number one on t..