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Posted by: Ian Piper


Forty-somethings are now almost twice as likely to be renting their home from a private landlord than 10 years ago. Rising UK house prices have left many middle-age workers unable to afford a first home, or as "accidental renters" after a relationship break-up. Analysts say a focus on young first-time buyers means older tenants, often with children, risk being ignored. Concerns have been raised about the economic and social impact of these tenants in years to come. "The danger of all this is the social inequality it will create between the haves - who are homeowners - and the have nots," said Paula Higgins, chief executive of the Homeowners' Alliance. Richard Donnell, from property market analysts Hometrack, who studied the data for BBC News, pointed to the potential strain on the benefits system in 15 to 20 years' time when some of these tenants require financial assistance to pay the rent during retirement. Record numbers of families are in rented accommodation and charities say there is a significant impact on the continuity of family and financial life. Research by housing charity Shelter said two-thirds of private renters with families who it surveyed said they wished their children did not have to live in a privately rented home. A fifth had moved from one rented home to another in the past five years, potentially affecting travel and schooling. One in six had been asked to move by the landlord. Debt charity StepChange said that four in five of those seeking help for unmanageable debts were tenants. Many were single parents. Most found themselves struggling with debts following a financial shock such as divorce or redundancy, rather than poor budgeting. (Source - BBC News)

President Donald Trump walked away from the Iran deal. It's official. President Donald Trump has now ended the so-called Iran Deal. President Trump has a predilection for keeping his campaign pledges once in office. This might be a new concept to politicians in Washington, but it shouldn't be. The list of people despondent with this decision is decidedly longer and more comprehensive than the list that support the move. There can be no denying that. There is little comfort in Europe today that President Trump took great diplomatic pains to listen to their alternative perspective on staying in the deal. However, in all fairness, I doubt any interested parties are shocked by the decision to pull out. It may have worked for other signatories, but President Trump once again affirms his mantra - America First. France stands to lose significant business dealings with Iran because of the reinstated sanctions. Losing deals to provide 100 new Airbus Airliners and opening a $5bn oil exploration project with Iran means real world economic consequences for a close ally of the United States. President Trump's resolve appears to run much deeper than such diplomatic considerations. Newly minted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo now has his work cut out for him. He must navigate the anger from Europe and Russia, while convincing North Korea that America will honour the deal they are currently negotiating. There are very real-world consequences to this action and President Trump will need to highlight the real world need to scrap this deal. Hyperbole from the president ("this is the worst deal in the world") and derisive commentary will not suffice with an American public who slightly favoured staying in the deal. The Department of State needs to continue to lead on a solution that doesn't end with sanctions. (Source - BBC News)

Theresa May has split her cabinet into two groups to consider options for customs arrangements post-Brexit. One group will consider a "customs partnership" whereby the UK would collect tariffs on behalf of the EU. The other group will look at "maximum facilitation" - a solution based on using technology to minimise the need for customs checks after Brexit. Ministers failed to agree on a future customs relationship with the EU at a cabinet meeting last week. All EU members are part of the customs union which means there are no tariffs on goods transported between member states. The UK government has said it wants to leave the customs union after the UK leaves the European Union on 29 March 2019 - but ministers have not yet agreed on an alternative. Looking at the customs partnership proposal will be two Brexiteers, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and Environment Secretary Michael Gove, and Remainer Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington. The UK would collect tariffs set by the EU customs union on goods coming into the UK on behalf of the EU. If those goods didn't leave the UK and UK tariffs on them were lower, companies could then claim back the difference. The customs partnership is thought to be the prime minister's preferred option but Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has described it as "crazy" and said it would create "a whole new web of bureaucracy". The customs union ensures EU member states all charge the same import duties to countries outside the EU. It allows member states to trade freely with each other, without burdensome customs checks at borders, but it limits their freedom to strike their own trade deals. The UK government has said it wants to leave the EU customs union in order to strike its own trade deals with other countries. Ministers are under pressure to have made progress on the issue before next month's EU summit. (Source - BBC News)

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