Friday, 29 May 2015

Rise in 'dog bite' hospital admissions

The number of people taken to hospital after dog attacks has risen by 76% in the past decade, new figures show. Between March 2014 and February this year, 7,227 people needed medical attention after being "bitten or struck" by a dog - up from 4,110 in the corresponding period ten years ago. Young children were the most commonly affected, the Health and Social Care Information Centre statistics showed. Charity Dogs Trust said the statistics were "deeply concerning".

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Tories ‘wrong to buy votes with right-to-buy’

Martin Wolf, writing in the FT, says that the government should think twice before it goes ahead with its expansion of right-to-buy. He believes that it basically amounts to “a direct transfer of large amounts of public wealth to a fortunate few.” He thinks a key element of the proposals is flawed because, in practice, it is quite unlikely that councils will reimburse housing associations  for the full market value of lost property, as the government says they will. As a result, he argues, the source of extra housing supply provided by housing associations will collapse.

Voluntary scheme for London landlords 'failing renters'

A voluntary scheme aimed at improving rental standards has been criticized after only 12% of London landlords signed up in a year. City Hall said as of May 2015, 14,350 of private sector landlords had signed up to the London Rental Standard. Labour said the scheme was "failing renters" and the mayor's pledge to sign up 100,000 landlords by May 2016 would take decades. The standard, launched last May, offers letting agents and landlords a badge if they meet a set of criteria, including improved property conditions and quicker repairs and maintenance. Meanwhile, a report from Kent Reliance shows that Britons who rent out homes they own are banking a total of almost £4bn a month from their properties. Average monthly rents rose 3.9% in the first quarter of the year to £832.

BBC News   The Guardian, Page: 26

Tax collection devolution warning by councils

Local councils could collect new Welsh taxes, but warned they may struggle to meet the devolution deadline due to reorganization. Powers to levy a land transaction tax to replace stamp duty and a landfill disposals tax take effect in 2018. The assembly's finance committee said it was "disappointed" by the situation and called for a "phased approach". It means HMRC could continue collecting the devolved taxes until councils or another body was judged to be ready.