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    The Haney Group, Evening Standard comment: London’s rising house prices - and a warning

    5 years agoReply

    Source: standard.co.uk/comment/evening-standard-..

    The Government’s sale of six per cent of its share in Lloyds Banking Group is a small move towards recouping the cost of the financial crisis’s public bailouts. It will raise £3.2 billion for the Treasury, a modest cash profit of £61 million that reflects the strengthening economy. That recovery is clearest in the property market, above all in London, as today’s official figures reveal: in the year to July, London house prices rose by 9.7 per cent.

    The London effect is huge: strip out London and the South-East and the average rise for the rest of the country was just 0.8 per cent. As the Lloyds sale suggests, London’s fortunes are up in part because of the financial sector’s recovery. Today sees plans for yet another ambitious high-rise building in the City, a £400 million, 170-metre-high complex of towers on Leadenhall Street.

    Worries remain about both the financial and property sectors. The Lloyds sale still leaves the Government owning almost a third of the bank, a measure of the damage inflicted in 2008. There is a risk that banks will be tempted to make unwise loans again: yesterday Business Secretary Vince Cable criticised the Chancellor’s Help to Buy loan guarantee scheme, warning that there are “already amber lights flashing” for a new housing bubble.

    Yet new inflation figures show August’s Consumer Price Index down marginally at 2.7 per cent. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has argued persistently that there is enough slack in capacity for the Bank and the Government to stimulate the economy without stoking inflation. We must hope that he is right. But it is good to see London’s economy strong again.

    Veiled women

    Home Office minister Jeremy Browne’s suggestion that the Government take action to limit some Muslim women’s use of the niqab, or full-face veil, has sparked a predictable row. The Government has ruled out any ban on public wearing of veils on French lines. But Downing Street has been cautiously supportive of controls on the veil in public institutions, following efforts by a Birmingham school to ban the veil and yesterday’s ruling by a judge at Blackfriars Crown Court that a veiled defendant had to remove her veil to give evidence.

    In cases involving justice, border controls and the like, there can be no question of women remaining veiled: those administrating such operations need to be able to see the faces of those they are questioning. Yet the veil presents a wider challenge to British norms: many in the West see it as a mark of Muslim women’s subjugation, imposed without the women concerned having any choice. Individual public institutions must be allowed to make their own judgments. The full veil is still the choice of only a small minority of British Muslim women. Meanwhile most Londoners are strikingly tolerant of others’ ways of life. But that does not mean we feel at ease with this symbol of women’s oppression, or that it is welcome in public life.

    A virtual world

    The launch of Grand Theft Auto 5 has attracted unprecedented attention. Regardless of the amorality of the world the game creates, it is certainly an astonishing virtual landscape — a huge technological achievement for its British designer, Rockstar. Might there be a market for a London-based GTA 6, its criminal protagonists helicoptering through Tower Bridge and abseiling down the Shard, only to get stuck on the Jubilee line? On second thoughts, maybe it’s better left in southern California.

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    5 years ago
    It is a good thing that there are still articles in the internet that are worth reading, this financial related article is so helpful. Continue posting worthy articles.
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