would need to take home up to £34k more a year, just to keep up
soaring house prices
PEOPLE on average wages in
parts of the North West would need to more than double their annual
salary just to keep up with out of control house prices, new
research by Shelter shows.
To investigate how out of sync house prices have become, the charity
looked at wage and house price inflation since 1997 in every area of
the region. This was then used to calculate what average annual
earnings would be if they had risen at the same rate as house
The results are staggering. In Manchester, the average annual salary
would need to increase by almost £34,000 to be in line with the rise
in house prices.
In Bury people on average wages would need an extra £19,000 each
year to keep up with house price inflation, and in Bolton almost
£16,000 extra would be needed.
Averages earners in Burnley would need the smallest pay rise, but
here over £10,000 would still need to be added onto the average
salary to put it in line with the rise in house prices.
The impact of the housing shortage has been widespread, with the
latest Census showing a 6% drop in the proportion of home owners in
the North West.
Meanwhile across the country the gap between wages and house prices
continues to grow. In the late 90's the average house cost 5 times
the average salary, but by 2012 it had jumped to a massive 10 times.
This leaves thousands of people priced out of the property market
and with no choice but to live in unstable private rented homes, or
remain in their childhood bedroom well into adulthood.
The charity is warning that if house prices are left to rise further
this will not only price out future generations hoping for a stable
home, it will also makes things even harder for the thousands of
families already struggling to keep up with their high housing costs
Shelter is calling on the government to address the serious shortage
of affordable homes as a matter of urgency, and give young people
and families who work hard and save money each month the chance of a
Case study: Angelique (24) and her partner John (29) are currently
renting. Angelique works as an engineer and John an IT manager but,
despite taking home a decent wage each month, the high cost of
renting combined with expensive property prices means that they
don't think they will ever be able to afford a home of their own.
Angelique said:- "After rent, food and bills there's very
little left each month, which makes saving enough for a deposit
impossible. I always thought that if I worked hard and had a good
job I'd be able to get a foot on the property ladder, but that's
just not the case these days. It feels like the only way we'd ever
be able to afford our own place is if we won the lottery!"
Campbell Robb, Shelter's Chief Executive, said:- "When you'd
need to more than double your salary just to keep up with rising
house prices, it is no surprise that the dream of a home of their
own is slipping further out of reach for a generation. Politicians
need to start meeting people halfway by committing to bold solutions
that will get more affordable homes built. Otherwise future
generations will find themselves priced out of a stable home,
however hard they work or save. The reality is that successive
governments have failed to build the affordable homes that this
country needs, and as a result our housing shortage has reached
crisis point. Despite the fanfare surrounding Help to Buy, pumping
money into mortgage guarantee schemes is not the solution. This
further inflates prices by increasing demand for an already limited
number of homes, and will only make things worse for the next
generation of first time buyers. The only solution is to build more
Brit Awards record labels face the
music on unpaid interns
MAJOR record labels
involved in this year's Brit Awards are amongst the latest targets
of HM Revenue and Customs' (HMRC) continued crackdown on unpaid
internships. In the run up to one of the music
industry's biggest nights HMRC is writing to record labels and event
companies warning them about the consequences for non-payment of the
National Minimum Wage for any unpaid interns they take on. Michelle
Wyer, HMRC's Assistant Director, National Minimum Wage, said:-
"Non-payment of the National Minimum Wage is not an option, it's
the law, and we're letting the music industry know that we've got
them in our sights. If they are not playing by the rules, now is the
time to put things in order. Last year we fined over around 800
employers, so our message is clear - if you are not paying your
interns, but should be, come forward now and put things right to
avoid a penalty." Employment Relations Minister Jenny
Willott said:- "The music industry is often seen as a
glamorous industry to work in, particularly for young people.
However, that is no excuse for interns not to be paid at least the
minimum wage if they are employed as a worker. We need to make sure
that interns who want a career in music are getting a fair deal and
are not being exploited." Letters to 35 record and
events companies have been sent to set out the rules with follow up
compliance visits due to begin later in the year to check the rules
are being followed. Anyone concerned that they are being
paid less than the National Minimum Wage should contact the free Pay
and Work Rights Helpline on:- 0800 917 2368.
first fun app to teach children good savings habits
PRODUCED and designed by
the makers of Wallace and Gromit; Aardman Animations; the app
features NatWest's new animated savings characters, Pigby and
Friends. The characters were introduced at the end of last year
during the launch of NatWest's First Saver account, which aims to
inspire children to save money.
The free-to-download app aims to help children learn about saving
money through a fun game that features the user as a boy or girl pig
character running a stall in an animated fairground. Pigby's friends
hold other stalls so players can check how much his friends have
saved and what they're saving for to inspire and spur them along.
The user is guided by Pigby through a fictional journey where he or
she starts by selling ice cream at the fair to earn money and then
faces opportunities to spend or save, with saving bonuses being
offered at various points. In every 5 minutes of gameplay the child
is taken to the Pigby Bank to deposit some of their hard earned
pocket money. They are also able to set their own saving target for
new or upgraded stalls and upon reaching their goals they unlock new
items and levels to allow them to progress further.
Based on the insight that 68% of UK parents are worried about the
long-term financial security of their children, the Pigby's Fair app
has been created to help parents educate their kids on how to manage
their finances from a young age, so that they are better prepared
for later life.
Research conducted by NatWest also found that 20% of children aged
5 to 10 would like to save but can't stop themselves from spending and
58% say they are more likely to spend money received at Christmas
rather than save it.
Heather Wright, Executive Producer at Aardman Animations says:-
"Our core audience is children, so creating the Pigby's Fair app
was the perfect project for us. We wanted to use a concept that
children would enjoy and we felt a game based in a fairground was an
ideal platform to educate young ones."
David Crawford, Head of Savings at NatWest, says:- "We
appreciate that the idea of discussing money management may not be
an interesting topic for children and that can make it difficult for
parents to teach. We want to help parents give their children the
best possible opportunities in a time where preparing for our
financial future is considered so crucial. Aardman Animations were the obvious partner to create our
innovative app and the Pigby and Friends characters. Aardman bring
the ability to capture childrens' imaginations and we at RBS bring
the savings expertise to help parents teach the next generation to
The app, Pigby's Fair, is available now and is free to download for
everyone (not just customers) on both the Apple app store and Google
For more information on Pigby's Fair app please visit:-
natwest.com/firstsaver or head to your nearest
PUBLIC VOTE TO CROWN BEST BUS
A Southport bus driver has
been named as a contender for the title of Arriva customers'
favourite 'Knight of the Road', following a national
appeal for nominations. Gordon Maguire, who drives in and
around Southport on the 43 and 46 services and to Wigan on the 375
and 385 routes, was shortlisted for the award after Arriva received
more than 100 suggestions from passengers. There will now be a
public vote involving five other drivers to decide on the winner in
the North West and Wales region, who will then be put forward for
the national title. Gordon said:- "I'm made up and it
feels really good to be shortlisted for this award. I really enjoy
meeting people and am nice to them, so it's great to get some
recognition for that."
Debra Heaton, regional marketing manager for Arriva North West and
Wales, said:- "Gordon thoroughly deserves to be nominated for
this award because of his consistently positive attitude towards
passengers, providing excellent customer service. Bus drivers are
part of the local community so it is only right that the public will
decide who will be crowned Arriva's Knight of the Road."
The Knight of the Road award is designed to recognise drivers who
make a difference to customers when they travel on Arriva Buses, and
is part of the Arriva UK Bus national recognition programme. It is
the only award which sees Arriva customers decide on who deserves to
win. The deadline for voting is Sunday, 23 February 2014, and
the winner will be announced at the Arriva 'Made A Difference'
awards ceremony in Birmingham on; 13 March, 2014. For more
information about the award, and to vote for your Knight of the
Road, please visit:-