Buy-to-let tax squeeze should be “scrapped” says high profile Tory peer

first_imgA former Tory grandee has criticised the government’s recent buy-to-let tax tax squeeze, describing it as “ill conceived”.Former Tory vice-chairman and shadow Vice Secretary to the Treasury Lord Flight (pictured, right) has called for the government to scrap many of the recent taxes on landlords and “provide the support needed to the individuals and small businesses who make up the vast majority of the country’s landlords”.Stifling investmentHis comments were made on the Conservative Home website over the weekend, in which he also calls for the recent hike in Stamp Duty on buy-to-let purchases and reduction in reliefs to be scrapped because they are “stifling investment, as anyone could have predicted” and catching out “natural Conservative voters”.“The decisions to impose a stamp duty levy on the purchase of homes to rent out, coupled with restricting mortgage interest relief to the basic rate of income tax and the decision to tax a landlord’s turnover rather than profits, are causing many landlords simply not to invest further in much needed new homes to rent; or even to consider leaving the sector altogether,” he says.“The mortgage interest restrictions need to be scrapped, and the stamp duty levy needs also to be cancelled where a landlord invests in a new property, brings an empty home back into use, or converts disused office or retail space into homes. It is perverse that this tax actively discourages investments in the much-needed new homes that add to the net supply of housing.”Fewer rental propertiesAt the same time Stuart Law, CEO of leading property investment firm Assetz, this weekend revealed that he believes the recent tax increases via changes to Stamp Duty and reliefs have already reduced the size of the buy-to-let market by 50% this year, and that this will “lead to many fewer rental properties coming to the market, pushing up rents”.“The new changes will bring to market a lot of cheaper housing for first time buyers for sure but we’ll see capital growth slow or even go negative as supply begins to exceed demand for a few years caused by landlords selling their properties,” he says.Read Lord Flight’s article in full.Lord Flight assetz Stuart Law May 30, 2017Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles Letting agent fined £11,500 over unlicenced rent-to-rent HMO3rd May 2021 BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Home » News » Housing Market » Buy-to-let tax squeeze should be “scrapped” says high profile Tory peer previous nextHousing MarketBuy-to-let tax squeeze should be “scrapped” says high profile Tory peerFormer Vice Chairman says private landlords should be supported not squeezed because it is they who will supply most new homes in short term.Nigel Lewis30th May 201702,297 Viewslast_img read more

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The tools of art

first_imgBob Alexander, a lifelong Bostonian, has lived on the same street in Allston all his life. Now that the Harvard Allston Education Portal has come to his neighborhood, he said, he and his wife, Paula, attend every event there they can.“We’re Bostonians from birth, and we love this place,” Bob Alexander said. “We come to all the talks.”The Alexanders were at the Ed Portal last month to hear Doris Sommer, the Ira Jewell Williams Jr. Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and professor of African and African American Studies, speak to a crowd of nearly 50 about how the arts, serving as “cultural agents,” promote education, innovation, and citizenship. The lecture was the most recent presentation of the Ed Portal’s faculty speaker series.Introducing Sommer, Robert Lue, faculty director for the Ed Portal, professor of the practice of molecular and cellular biology, and faculty director of HarvardX, said that her scholarship and breadth of work reflected her belief in building bridges across disciplines, fields, and communities.“She believes in translating scholarship into action,” Lue said. “Her leadership at the Cultural Agents Initiative at Harvard brings together the arts, the humanities, the sciences, and the social sciences in an effort to understand how tying these fields together can bring the world together and make the world a better place — making art a powerful engine not just for scholarship, but for social change as well.”Inspired by creative solutions that evolved in locations such as Colombia and Argentina, Sommer showed how the arts could transform the ways in which a developing society perceived itself and the values inherent in its culture and community. Those same creative solutions, she said, could also provide new ways for that culture to evolve and thrive, even in the most challenging circumstances.Sommer began her lecture by discussing her observation, about a dozen years ago, that the best and brightest students in the humanities were leaving the field “in order to do something “useful.”“Culture has enormous capacity to make and to resolve conflict,” Sommer said. “So did students assume that what we were doing in the humanities was useless?”In the last few generations, Sommer said, a wave of pessimism — a focus on what didn’t work rather than what might — grew within her field, and scholars become reluctant to challenge it out of fear of “being wrong.” In contrast, artists view their work as taking risks.“Our project, in Cultural Agents, is to add some of that spirit of optimism and risk-taking to academic work,” she said.It’s that optimistic outlook and willingness to take chances that enabled artists to conquer obstacles that others might find insurmountable, Sommer said. One example she gave was that of Bogota, Colombia, in the 1990s, when the city was in such chaos that “children without bodyguards didn’t go to school.” Antanas Mockus, a philosopher and mathematician, was elected mayor of Bogota, and adopted a collaborative approach with his staff and citizens, considering all ideas to help restore order to the city.To everyone’s surprise, that first step came in the form of improvised theatrical performances, right in the “busiest center of the most violent city.” Mockus fired traffic police and hired 20 pantomime artists to direct traffic. The mimes, bearing banners that read “Incorrecto!,” couldn’t give out tickets or arrest people — they could only make fun of those who were driving dangerously. People were startled at first, and then quickly joined in.“People began looking up,” Sommer said. “They enjoyed the spectacle. Mockus managed to make a public. People in performance theory know that a public doesn’t come to an activity; the public is created through an activity.”Sommer also handed out books born of resourcefulness. In Buenos Aires, during a terrible market crash, artists began making books out of scraps — cardboard gathered from trash, painted with bright, organic colors — with photocopied pages of texts donated by prominent authors. Inspired by this effort, Sommer developed Pre-Texts, a program that integrates literacy, the arts, and civic values. The curriculum has been implemented in classrooms throughout the globe, in Boston, at Harvard’s Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, as well as at the Ed Portal’s GPA after-school program.“You treat a book as raw material, rather than as a sacred object,” she said. “I learned that if you get people to do something creative with literature, to make something new and personal, you promote mastery and ownership of the material. Creative artists are authors and co-authors of the literature. They own it. And lessons of literary theory followed from reflecting on creative manipulations”Through the Cultural Agents Initiative, Sommer said, she learned that the cultural agents she had been studying “were models and inspirations. I could be a cultural agent, too. I could teach anyone to read very difficult material simply by treating that group as artists.”As the Alexanders readied to leave, Paula, who volunteers with Friends of the Library at the Boston Public Library’s Honan-Allston Branch and has worked at the Harvard Business School for more than 30 years, said she felt inspired. “We’re trying to get more members and people to be more involved, so she gave me some good ideas of how to approach that,” she said.“The Education Portal is for everyone,” Bob Alexander said, looking around at the full house. “You know, Harvard’s our neighbor. This is our life — and things like this make it better.”Initiated in 2009, the lectures offer an opportunity for the Harvard and Greater Boston communities to come together to discuss diverse topics, and for the public to broaden its understanding of research taking place at the University. Faculty members present a variety of topics, bringing the theory and discourse being taught in Harvard classrooms to the community.To celebrate the spring semester and five years of mentoring at the Ed Portal,  there will be a student showcase and open house from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on May 5. The Ed Portal is located at 175 North Harvard St., Allston. There will be children’s activities and refreshments.last_img read more

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All-PVC baseball, softball, track teams announced

first_imgELLSWORTH — Three Ellsworth players were named first-team selections on the All-Penobscot Valley Conference baseball and softball teams Wednesday.Conner Wagstaff and Jared Hamilton received the honors for Ellsworth baseball and were joined by Brad Smith on the second team. Mount Desert Island’s Riley Swanson also was named a first-teamer.In softball, Ellsworth catcher Callie Hammer was named to the first team and was joined by MDI pitcher Lindsey McEachern. The Eagles’ Hannah Sargent was named to the second team.Ellsworth’s 4-by-800 boys’ track team of Matt Frost, Jack McKechnie, Mark Berry and Matt Shea received second-team honors for the All-PVC track team. Tia Tardy was one of several MDI runners named to the first team.This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textFor small schools, George Stevens Academy’s John Hassett was one of many first- and second-team selections. Eliza Broughton (100- and 300- meter hurdles), Ava Sealander (pole vault) and Morgan Dauk (javelin) were named to the first team for the girls.last_img read more

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