‘Green mortgages’ aimed at enhancing property energy efficiency

Green mortgages

Green mortgagesEnergy provider E.ON teams up with banking giant BNP Paribas to pilot ‘green mortgages’ that could save homeowners £380 a year.

The aim is to offer homeowners finance via their mortgage of their property. This innovative approach to financing property purchase will mean people who are moving, buying for the first time, or remortgaging their homes will be able borrow more through an ‘energy efficiency home improvement loan’ linked to their mortgage.

It is one of the many arrangements that are on offer for home buyers.  To navigate the maze finder UK has a guide to help you better understand how mortgages work and how you should compare the different deals that are out there.

Under the E.ON and BNP Paribas green scheme, the improvement loan financing would come from BNP Paribas Personal Finance and the managed services that install the appropriate energy efficiency solutions would come from E.ON.

According to the innovators, any improvements paid for by the loan could lead to a discounted mortgage rate when the property’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is updated and the energy efficiency measures verified.

The new move comes after Bank of England researchers discovered that people who live in more energy efficient homes pose a lower credit risk.

Their data indicates that about 1.14% of people living in homes that are energy inefficient are in mortgage payment arrears, whereas only 0.93% of people in energy-efficient properties were behind on their payments.

The research concluded that a home’s energy efficiency is “a relevant predictor of mortgage risk”.

According to E.ON and BNP Paribas about 19 million households in Britain fall below the EPC Band C rating and by putting basic measures in place could save up to £380 a year.

E.ON UK CEO Michael Lewis says green mortgages could a “game changer in the delivery of affordable finance”. He is keen for home-owners to step into “energy efficient living”.

Claire Perry, the Minister at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy who looks after the clean growth brief, says she is delighted to see businesses like E.ON and BNP Paribas Personal Finance seizing the multi-billion pound opportunity that exists to energise communities into tackling “the very serious threat of climate change”.

The finder UK mortgage pages can put you in touch with a mortgage adviser, give you access to online mortgage comparison, and allow you to browse the various rates available.

Lack of Testing Leaves Us In The Dark with Covid-19

Covid-19

Covid-19The UK’s blind, blanket ban on movement during this coronavirus crisis is akin to trying to fly a plane, navigate a ship or drive a car wearing a blindfold and ear plugs!

Compare us to Germany, which is currently testing as many as 500,000 people each week for Covid-19. Britain, on the other hand, is badly lagging behind. In the UK just 104,800 tests have been conducted in the entire period since the end of January.

When we compare the proportion of people infected who go on to die the lowest rates of all are in Germany and Austria. Only around 0.7% of people infected go on to die in these countries.

Indeed, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre, of the 53,340 Germans infected just 395 have died. In Austria the figures are 7,712 infections have led to just 58 fatalities.

There is no real difference between the way that Germany tests people and the way we do it in the UK. Where the difference is stark is in the volume of the testing.

Germany now tests as many as 500,000 people a week for coronavirus, while Britain has conducted a measly 104,800 tests in the whole period since January’s end.

Austria is also testing heavily. Its plan is to hit 15,000 tests a day while Britain, with nearly eight times the size of population, says it aims for just 10,000 a day by the end of this month.

In Germany, the Robert Koch Institute, that has the responsibility for officially recording deaths in that country, says it treats “someone to be a corona death” in all cases where some sort of corona infection is proven. This effectively means those deaths counted as corona deaths include ALL deaths that can be associated with Covid-19.

So the German testers include all who have died from Covid-19, including all people who have underlying health problems and are infected even where it’s not even possible to say what actually killed them.

Those who are not tested before they die but are suspected of Covid-19 are tested post-mortem and if there are signs of coronavirus infection, they are listed as Covid-19 deaths.

So the German method counts anyone infected with Covid-19 who goes on to die as a Covid-19 victim regardless of whether it’s proven the virus killed them directly.

That is pretty much how deaths are also counted in the UK. So we are comparing like with like. The reasons for Germany’s lower death toll, are largely down to this extensive testing. The fact is that high testing rates not only assist authorities monitor and understand coronavirus’s spread but also it helps the medics fight Covid-19’s lethality.

With clear knowledge of what is going on and where enables the selective quarantining of those people who have or may have the virus so that the most vulnerable can be better shielded. It means medical attention can be targeted at the vulnerable at an early stage so their chances of survival are increased.

Meanwhile we in the UK are still in the dark!

Choosing the online casino for you

Online casinos

Online casinosWhen you’ve played online casino games for a while, you have probably built up a bank of stories about the best and worst experiences. Here are some important things to look out for.

It’s not uncommon for things to start well in an online casino. You receive a welcome bonus and organize funding for your account.

After that, you played a few slots and a variety of table games. But with many online casinos and online football operations it’s when you’ve won some money and asked to cash out that problems can arise. Beware the rogue casinos that ask for loads of documents for verification. They are prolonging the withdrawal process, and you could well get fed up and give up on receiving your money.

When you are looking for a genuine online casino like LSM99 you should expect reliable services and equally reliable customer support.

  1. The License

Never join any unlicensed casinos however attractive and lucrative the bonuses they appear to be offering.

The way to verify that a casino actually holds a genuine license, check for licensing information at the bottom of the website.

  1. User-friendly

Casinos like LSM99 have intuitive, mobile-responsive websites. This is not always the case. Prior to creating your account and depositing money, navigate through the website. If you don’t love the site and find it loads slowly, change the platform. Check out the user-friendliness by clicking through the game categories and playing a few games in demo mode.

Good gambling sites should be as easy to use on your smartphone as on a larger screen.

  1. The Games

Before you commit to using a casino, confirm it offers a range of games you like. When playing online slots is what appeals, check the software providers who are supplying the online casino’s games. Nowadays it’s possible to find gambling sites specializing in specific casino games.

  1. Bonus Offers

Bonuses aren’t the only reason for selecting a casino, but they should be considered. All online casino players deserve good rewards. No deposit offers, for example, may help you test a website’s user-friendliness without the need to spend any money.

Good deposit bonuses can help increase your bankroll. And when they also come with limited wagering requirements, you can fulfil them and cash out your winnings conveniently.

  1. Reliable Customer Support

Customer support is essential when say you forget your password and get stuck recovering your account. An error may erase your account balance, or the withdrawal process could take too long.

In a lot of cases, these issues need to be handled immediately. With a good casino, you should be able to reach out to the support team for help in real-time.

In Conclusion

When you choose an online casino don’t rush to make your decision and don’t be distracted by any of the bonuses.

 

Is Slow-balization substituting for Globalization

Slobalisation
Slowbalisation
Slowing down: Scissors can be exported in 20ft-containers, hair stylists cannot

Globalization has dominated the world economy for years. But recent trends are indicating that many major economies are turning their backs on being drawn deeper together. The signs are that there’s a growing desire to be less inter-connected through global networks of capital flows, trade, and technology.

Global trade is becoming less advantageous. There are even cases where it is also on the way to being less feasible.

This is a major turnaround for what in the last half a century had been seen as the prevailing trend that would inexorably move in the same direction.

What is conspiring to slow globalization? The combination of geopolitical shifts, secular trends and trade tensions are just aspects of this story.

Tariffs are a very visible barrier to global trade, but other hurdles, including the US’s foreign investment review, are also diluting any business incentive to globalize, according to senior bankers.

In addition, changes in consumer preferences along with greater purchasing power in emerging markets are boosting regional trade over global trade. Technology is exacerbating these trends by enabling leaner manufacturing methods. The highly acclaimed Dutch trend watcher Adjiedj Bakas calls it “slow-balization”.

When it comes to investment, there are advantages and disadvantages. Barriers to global trade threaten to disrupt major businesses that rely on smooth flows including capital goods, semiconductors, telecoms, and automobiles – indeed any industries where technologies are sensitive and whose supply chains are globally diffuse.

However, increased localization may turn out to be a bonus for those businesses that don’t rely so heavily on foreign markets, and whose products have a critical economic or national security interest. Good examples of these “emerging regional champions” are China’s internet firms, and local payment processors as well as some smaller US internet operators.

SlobalisationGlobalization Goes Into Reverse

Even before trade tensions began to reassert themselves, secular winds of change were already blowing.

About 20 years ago, transportation and communication costs were decreasing and long-haul trade across the world’s oceans became prevalent. McKinsey Global Institute research shows that between 2000 and 2012 the share of goods traded between the same region’s countries dropped from 51% to 45%. This trend is now reversing and regional trade is again gaining traction.

Underpinning this are two things. Goods trade is now growing less fast than service trade. And the success of globalization has led to emerging market countries growing rich enough to be consuming more of the very goods that they have been selling.

In hindsight, it’s a natural evolution of globalization, and, according to McKinsey, the consequence is that between 2007 and 2017 the share of output moving across the world’s borders has dropped from 28.1% to 22.5%.

Trade Patterns Change Shape

Trade patterns are also being encouraged to change. McKinsey reports that the old lean manufacturing approach emphasizing low inventory levels -“just-in-time” logistics – is no longer as popular as it once was.

Now just 18% of the world’s goods trade is founded on labor-cost arbitrage. Indeed, McKinsey expects this share to shrink further as companies streamline their supply chains and adopt more automation.

This is very different from the turn of the century when a large number of businesses based decisions about supply-chains on the ability to source low-cost labor, even when it meant shipping supplies, components and finished goods all over the world.

A final aspect that is also making globalization less attractive is technology. Countries are now thinking differently about the link between economic interests and their national security. The US, for example, is now defining its sensitivity in a much broader manner.

So, taking automobiles as an example, the technology on which driverless cars depend is highly likely to have military applications, and the US doesn’t want foreign powers – least of all China – having any knowledge or influence in this field.

Taking Advantage of Slow-balization

Shifting tides create complex dynamics, but investors can still start thinking about the broad implications by seeking answers to a couple of key questions:

  • How sensitive is a business’s product to a particular country’s economic or national security?
  • What is the reliance on global supply chains, and does this make sense anymore?

Those businesses that are most vulnerable to the effects of “slow-balization” are the ones dealing in economic and security sensitive technologies and still depending on a supply chain that is globally diffuse. Think European capital goods, autos, telecoms, IT hardware, and semiconductors.

It’s less easy to assess internet companies. While the biggest consumer internet businesses are facing higher costs of doing business because platform health and data security are playing bigger roles, smaller rivals could find they benefit for similar reasons.

It’s highly likely companies dealing in sensitive areas, but not closely entwined with the rest of the world, will be better placed. China’s internet firms, for example, are vital for that country’s economic security and outlook but their business has been focused almost exclusively on China itself.

Another area that is worth considering from an investment perspective is payments. Payment firms could be net beneficiaries because they are tuned into issues of tax collection and banking functions as well as national security, while digital payments is unstoppable irrespective of global trade. As a result, payment schemes that are domestically developed could get the edge.

Factory image by kerttu from Pixabay

Salon image by bk_numberone from Pixabay

General Election? Nigel Farage’s Dilemma

Brexit Party
Brexit Party
Pact or no pact: what does it say on the tin?

The Conservatives would benefit from cooperating with Nigel Farage and his business in a forthcoming general election – but would the arch-Brexiteer sacrifice his latest venture?

There are many hurdles in the way of the pact that Farage has indicated he may desire between The Brexit Party Ltd that he owns and Boris Johnson’s Conservatives.

At a rally in Westminster to announce the Brexit Party’s next wave of candidates to fight for seats in the next general election last week, Farage confirmed the Brexit Party would form a “non-aggression pact” with the Conservative Party if it pursues a no-deal Brexit.

However, now that there are moves to block this outcome from happening and Johnson says he would prefer to leave the EU with a deal, it’s questionable about what happens next.

While the value of a pact to the Conservative party is obvious, its attraction to the Brexit Party is far from clear.

Let’s assume Farage is open to a pact to get the biggest representation in parliament for his limited company, as he was indicating again yesterday.

He would, therefore, need the Conservatives to stand down in seats the Brexit Party Ltd could win.

Where are these? The most obvious are the seats with the highest Brexit vote in 2016. There were 50 where 67% or more voted to leave the EU.

Where possibly could Johnson’s Tories stand down?

After the seats that currently still have Conservative MPs are ruled out – including Boston and Skegness, which had the highest pro-Brexit vote of 75% – 26 Labour-held and strongly pro-Brexit seats would remain.

There are 13 of these that are Labour-Conservative marginals, which could fall to the Tories on a 7% swing. It is highly unlikely that the Tories would surrender these: they are exactly the sort of seats the Tories need to target if they are to have any hope of securing a clear majority in a new parliament.

What remains are the 13 powerfully pro-Brexit Labour seats where the Tories haven’t a realistic hope in hell of winning.

This means it would not worry them a lot if they were offered to Farage. However, although his limited company did well in all of them last May, the Brexit Party Ltd would struggle to win any of them in a general election. Why? Because they include Doncaster North, where Ed Miliband’s majority is 14,024, and Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, where Yvette Cooper is 14,499 ahead of the Tories.

In these, and the other 11 seats on this list, the Conservatives have never done well in living memory: they include towns and cities like Barnsley, Hemsworth, Hull, Redcar, Rotherham, and Wentworth.

If the Tories were to stand down and throw their endorsement in the direction of the Brexit party, Farage’s candidates in these Labour heartlands would lose their most appealing quality: they are a Tory-hating alternative for pro-Brexit voters that would not help Johnson.

If voters locally were pressured into choosing between their existing, pro-EU Labour MP and a Tory-backed pro-Brexit candidate, the smart money would be on Miliband, Cooper et al holding their seats.

A pact may not only reduce Farage’s limited company’s chances in Labour’s heartlands; but also, by standing down in a number of marginals the Brexit Party Ltd would be diminishing its vote tally overall. It may not matter in a formal sense but to an insurgent party with ambitions, the symbolic significance would not be a good look.

So, whatever Farage says, a pact looks extremely unattractive to the Brexit party in terms of seats and overall votes.

However, Farage is unlikely to want to be remembered as the man who stopped Brexit happening, so the most obvious benefit of a pact to him and his cabal is that, even if his party ends up with no MPs, by standing aside in the key marginals he could make sure there is a clear Tory majority so the UK would leave the EU.

Without such a pact, the pro-Brexit vote would split in many key seats. Labour and the LibDems could make the gains they need to make sure of a majority for a fresh Brexit referendum in the new parliament, and the UK could remain in the EU after all.

So there is a paradox for Farage.

On the one hand, a pact could advance the Brexit Party Ltd’s main cause, but destroy the party itself: it would lose its purpose and its future with zilch MPs, but it would be able to watch Brexit happen from the sidelines.

On the other hand, failure to enter into a pact may well kill Brexit altogether, but it would also be bound to probably fatally damage the Tories, and lead to a political realignment in which Farage could have a big impact.

Which future would Farage prefer? It looks like we won’t have long to find out.

 

Revealed: Boris Johnson on Donald Trump

Anti Brexit campaigners Led By Donkeys have amused the passing London crowds by projecting a video of Boris Johnson’s less-than-flattering comments about Donald Trump onto Big Ben, just as the US President is visiting the UK capital.

Don’t be fooled by the two politicians these days having nothing for praise for each other, back in 2015, Johnson was scathing in his condemnation of the then-presidential candidate.

To see the comments that graced Big Ben last night have a look.

Yolt is the first independent app to connect to the UK’s largest high street banks

Yolt, the app that allows customers to view credit card, banking and savings accounts in one place, has become the first third-party provider to tie up with all nine of the UK’s biggest retail banks.

Along with fintech challengers Starling and Monzo, 18 banks are now connected to Yolt, with users able to access a total of 35 different cards and banks. Yolt users can see the shops where they spend the most money. They can also set budgets and plan for upcoming payments as well as seeing how much cash they have available until payday.

Yolt is now the largest user of Open Banking application programming interfaces (APIs) that enable the app to perform about 1.5 million calls every week. APIs are sets of clearly defined ways for various components, in this case accounts to communicate between themselves.

Key features of the Yolt app are its spending tracker, easy budget settings and auto-categorisation.

The app has been working closely with the UK’s nine largest banks and building societies* since the start of 2018 to make it possible to involve all the big retail banking operations. Yolt is the first money app to make a complete Open Banking API link with the Lloyds Banking Group.

Yolt’s COO Leon Muis says that connecting with all the largest banks through APIs is “a huge milestone”. Muis points out that the Open Banking ecosystem has made it possible and for making users able to stay at the front of the Open Banking revolution and empowered to do more with their own money.

He accepts that the public still need educating about Open Banking, which is aimed at providing greater financial transparency for account holders, but believes that as more people get involved, consumers will see the benefits of having increased control over their financial information.

Yolt was launched in 2016 as a registered trademark of the Amsterdam-based ING group. Does it make it easier to manage your finances? Read this review to see what finder UK says. To find out exactly how Open Banking may help you take a look at this analysis.

Hamper (noun): a basket used to deliver an exciting array of things

Blog posts retail
Hamper Joy: gifts like this inspire strong feelings of expectation

There are not many expressions that instantly conjure up such strong feelings of expectation, interest and excitement as does the word “hamper”.

If you believe you are about the receive a hamper from a friend, member of the family or colleague what comes to mind? Gifts, food, special things, enjoyment, pleasure. What is the common denominator? None of them is negative: They are all positives!

It is a truly enervating experience to have a mystery basket arrive on your doorstep. Anybody who doesn’t get excited about discovering what layer upon layer of a hamper reveals must be suffering badly.

  • The hamper may be full of delicious food and drink.
  • It may be stuffed with fascinating trinkets.
  • It may be an arrangement of flowers thoughtfully assembled in a unique display.
  • The basket may be packed with succulent fruits of every description.

There are few things that cannot be delivered in a spectacular way in a hamper, whether here in Singapore or anywhere else around the world.

Hampers first really became popular in Victorian England and have been standing the test of time ever since. Today they are a glorious gift solution for any celebratory event throughout the year and can contain just about anything. You choose.

The concept of the hamper originated in France in around the 11th century. The term ‘hamper‘ comes from the French word ‘hanapier’, which describes a case for goblets. Woven baskets were always traditionally been constructed with willow and were originally employed to transport food and drink on long journeys, hunting expeditions or other expeditions.

It was in the 19th century, as a result of the UK’s industrial revolution, and the improved transport links that came about as a result, that inspired the Victorians to literally grasp the handle of the hamper idea and send items of fresh food throughout the country and Empire.

Luxury food hampers quickly became a popular tradition, particularly at Christmas, when families would send hampers to each other as impressive gifts.

Around this time it also became common for employers to present hampers to their servants and other staff. These traditional baskets, made of wicker, might have been packed with food and clothes. The convention was for these hampers to be filled with seasonal produce, including meat and preserved fruits and given on Boxing Day.

Hamper delivery was a way of saying thank you and making sure everyone had plenty to enjoy over the festive season.

Since the mid 19th Century the use of hampers to spread joy and goodwill has continuously evolved and grown throughout the world. The evolution of the hamper has followed in the footsteps of a variety of food trends and every change in fashion.

The exciting development of hampers and their uses continues today. Indeed, even hamper weaving methods and the baskets produced as a result are changing too.

Nowadays a wide variety of natural weaving materials is used in addition to willow. Other materials can include:

  • rattan
  • seagrass

Expert weavers are able to create hamper baskets in a whole array of sizes and shapes. Wooden and other boxes and gift bags are also used for hamper delivery

Hampers are perfect for this part of the world because giving gifts is part of the culture of Singapore. Recent surveys have indicated that more than 44 percent of people say they are willing to spend over  S$200 on a single gift and more than 24 percent are likely to spend between S$100 and S$200.

The surveys also show that gifts are given all year round, not just during the Great Singapore Sale and the festive seasons.

The opportunities for hamper delivery are almost infinite. It is not just for the traditional seasonal occasions, like Christmas, New Year, Easter, Chinese New Year, hampers can also be created, put together and delivered for:

  • Mummies to give to their babies and vice versa
  • Parents to give their babies for a Full Moon party
  • Couples to give each other for Valentine’s Day

Hampers are such a perfect solution for busy Singaporeans keen to satisfy their friends, family and colleagues, whatever their budget.

Whether it is fresh fruit, the best wines, or healthy biscuits and award-winning baby products, all of these items can be incorporated thoughtfully into an exciting basket of goods that can be put together for hamper delivery.

Today the hamper is more popular than it has ever been. They are a chance for people to be given and to experience and taste products they may never have thought of buying themselves.

What is more, it is now possible to put hampers together to suit very specific dietary needs and other requirements. This means that nobody needs to miss out on the joy and excitement of receiving such a fantastic and innovative present. It’s even possible to create Gluten-Free and Diabetic hampers if they are required.

The perfect food hamper needs to be a delicious mixture of savoury and sweet. Everybody loves one, whether it is receiving it, or the interest of putting one together with care and attention,  picking out those things that your friends, family or colleagues are going to love. It makes the hamper as a present that little bit more special.

It is best if the sweet items are individual and bespoke. Local products are invariably winners. Temptations like butter shortbread or chocolate wafers are never rebuffed. The savoury items could always be something homemade, like a pressed tongue or a cured ham.

The best hampers are definitely those that are personalised to suit the people to whom they are being given. Today the items in a particular hamper can not only be swathed in bespoke gift wrap but the accompanying card can be specifically tailored for a specific person, occasion or purpose, or all three.

Baskets, ribbons, greeting cards, and other decorations all add elegance to a hamper.  But when it comes to giving a gift and hamper delivery one thing that most definitely cannot be overlooked is convenience.

Hamper delivery must be efficient, precise, friendly, and punctual or the whole purpose can be easily marred.

Singaporeans like to give and receive gifts but they not only expect the best products to be chosen for their hampers. They also require practical convenience for their hamper delivery.

What is the enduring appeal of hampers? They suit just about any occasion and most certainly every person who receives one. Whether it’s for family, friends, customers or staff, hampers provide a perfect gift.