Prince Charles says Climate Change is the World’s greatest threat & calls for a green economic solution

The Prince of Wales has told leaders that the world is in the midst of a climate crisis, as he announced plans for his own environmental initiative.

 

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, he called the effects of climate change the “greatest threats humanity has ever faced” and are “largely of our own creation”

 

The prince hopes his Sustainable Markets Council – which will bring together leaders from the public and private sectors, charitable organisations and investors – can help to identify ways to rapidly decarbonise the global economy.

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Citing his decades of campaigning, he said: “Do we want to go down in history as the people who did nothing to bring the world back from the brink, in trying to restore the balance, when we could have done? I don’t want to.”

He also called for a change in taxes to encourage consumers to make environmentally beneficial decisions.

“It is time to think about how we properly deploy taxes, policies and regulation in a way that catalyses sustainable markets.

“For a transition to take place, being socially and environmentally conscious cannot only be for those who can afford it. If all the true costs are taken into account, being socially and environmentally responsible should be the least expensive option because it leaves the smallest footprint behind.”

 

The prince was criticised by some for flying to the summit on a chartered plane, before making the two-hour car journey from the airport to Davos in a fully electric Jaguar car.

The royal also meet teenage activist Greta Thunberg in Davos

The 71-year-old Prince has been advocating environmental causes since before Thunberg, 17, was born.

 

Speaking to CNN after the meeting, he said: “She’s remarkable. She represents one of the main reasons why I’ve been trying to make all this effort all these years because, as I said, I didn’t want my grandchildren to accuse me of not doing something about this in time and of course there they are.

“All her generation, almost my grandchildren if you know what I mean, are all desperate because not nearly enough has happened – we’ve left it so late.”

Source: iNews

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HMRC: UK residential property transactions rise by over 6%

The number of residential property transactions rose by 6.2% from November to December, HMRC’s Property Transactions Statistics have shown.

There were 104,670 residential property transactions last month which is up 6.8% year-on-year.

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Similarly, the number of non-residential transactions increased by 13.4% from November and 0.8% from December 2018.

Gareth Lewis, commercial director or property lender MT Finance, said: “The back-end of the year saw an increase in activity and purchases after the general election as a lot of transactional flow held off until after the result was known.

“Estate agents and lenders were extremely busy as people were keen to get on with things.

“There is a positivity around transactions and market sentiment that we haven’t seen for a while – maybe we are seeing the green shoots of spring appear a little earlier than usual.”

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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UK Soldier commit suicide over £13k debt used for property investor training

A soldier killed himself after paying £13,000 for training with a property company that promises to help people become “financially free”.

The family of army reservist Danny Butcher, 37, said he never made the money he thought he would.

Dozens of people want refunds from Property Investors, which has been described as operating like a “cult”.

The company, run by former illusionist Samuel Leeds, said: “People should only purchase courses they can afford.”

Mr Butcher, from Doncaster, had spoken about his mental health in the past and his family said he had existing debt before he took on loans and credit card debt to pay Property Investors.

His family said he had been led to believe he would make enough money from property deals and rental income to replace a wage or salary.

Mr Butcher’s widow Charlotte, 32, said: “I think that he felt that he’d let everyone down, that he’d messed everything up and that there was no way out of it.

Danny and Claire on their wedding day
Mr Butcher took his own life just 11 weeks after his wedding

“All he wanted was his own chance at making something of himself for me and his son, he saw this as his opportunity.

“Obviously taking out all of the loans, he put himself on the line, but it was a bit like ‘yeah it’s scary but without risk there’s no reward’.

“He genuinely thought this was his chance because of how easy they made it all sound.”

Property Investors puts on free two-day crash courses, offering people the option to sign up to a training academy where they will learn how to become “financially free” by investing in property.

The company described Mr Leeds as having “found his own success” after attending training courses, with his wealth coming “primarily from his property investment activity”.

Mr Leeds posts videos on YouTube nearly every day promoting his methods. In one he joked that he would punch people in the throat unless they subscribed to his YouTube channel.

In one clip he promises to work one-on-one with his customers, to provide “a custom, tailored, bespoke plan” and “hold your hand, make it happen”.

Mr Butcher attended a free course in March with his brother-in-law Glyn Jones.

Mr Jones said: “It felt like brainwashing, like a religious cult kind of thing but done on a much smaller scale.

“What he’s offering never appears, I don’t see how it can.”

According to his wife, Mr Butcher’s “gut instinct” told him not to sign up for the academy and he held out for two days before changing his mind, swayed by the promise of exclusive mentorship and one-to-one training.

Mr Butcher’s family said he did not get the support he had been promised.

The company said academy members had access to weekly video calls and monthly webinars with specialist property coaches.

After failing to make any money, Danny Butcher took his own life in October.

Source: BBC News

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BT pension scheme MEPC property developer sold to Hermes

Hermes Investment Management has acquired MEPC, the UK property developer owned by the BT Pension Scheme (BTPS).

Hermes, which was formerly owned by BTPS, and GE Real Estate took MEPC private in 2000 as each acquired 50% of the company. Three years later, Hermes bought GE’s stake.

 

In April 2018, Federated Investors acquired a majority interest in Hermes from BTPS.

Hermes said today it is acquiring MEPC in a deal that “enhances Hermes Real Estate’s proposition by adding specialist asset and development management expertise to its existing capabilities”.

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Chris Taylor, CEO of Hermes Real Estate, said: “There are many synergies between the two brands and an already long-lasting and successful relationship, which can now be built upon further.”

James Dipple, CEO of MEPC, said: “This is an exciting transaction for MEPC, allowing us to combine our long track record of success with a leading real estate investment manager.

“Our strategic ambitions for the future are fully aligned with those of Hermes and, therefore, a strong basis for the growth of MEPC.”

A spokesperson for Hermes and MEPC said: “Having Hermes as MEPC’s parent company provides a long-term basis for its future growth with little disruption to day-to-day business. Certain investments processes are already integrated with those of Hermes.

“This acquisition greatly enhances our real estate proposition by adding specialist asset and development management expertise.

“In particular, it supports our core strategy of creating urban regeneration schemes, which not only deliver attractive financial returns but will have a positive impact on the environment and communities in which they are located – a key market differentiator for the business ahead.”

Source: IPE Real Asset

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UK Property fraudster set to payback £5.3m

Edwin McLaren, of Bridge of Weir, was jailed alongside his wife Lorraine in 2017 for £1.6m fraud scheme.

Prosecutors are seeking more than £5 million from a fraudster who was convicted after Scotland’s longest ever criminal trial.

Edwin McLaren , 54, now faces the prospect of having to hand over more than £5.3 million to the Crown under proceeds of crime legislation.

Prosecutors previously sought £1 million and then £3 million from McLaren, of Bridge of Weir.

But now the Crown has revised the figure being sought from McLaren.

The dad of two, who was jailed alongside his wife Lorraine, accused prosecutors of incompetence during a hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday.

He said: “The figure has now reached £5 million.

“When I was convicted, it was £1 million.

“Then it was £3 million and it was £3 million a few weeks back.

“It’s now £5 million – the Crown seem to be in disarray.

“The people who are doing this don’t know what they’re doing.”

McLaren was jailed for 11 years in 2017 for his involvement in a £1.6 million property fraud scheme.

He was found guilty of 29 charges after a trial at the High Court in Glasgow that began in September 2015 and heard evidence over 320 days.

His 54-year-old wife Lorraine was found guilty of two charges involving a fraudulent mortgage application on their own home and money laundering involving a sum of £128,000.

During his trial, a court heard how McLaren preyed on vulnerable people by arranging for their title deeds of their homes to be transferred to his associates without the victims’ knowledge.

The estimated cost of the 20-month trial was £7.5 million.

Jurors heard of the couple’s lavish lifestyle which included luxury holidays in Dubai and spending £100,000 on a ring and private schools for their children.

McLaren, who drove a Bentley, was described by trial judge Lord Stewart as showing “breathtaking dishonesty”.

The fraudster left victims out of pocket and in some cases homeless.

At a hearing last month, McLaren told Lord Arthurson that prosecutors were seeking to seize his £800,000 home in Bridge of Weir.

Source: BBC News

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TPO looking for a new Property Ombudsman

The current Ombudsman, Katrine Sporle, is giving up the role in November after five years in the post.

The closing date for applicants is February 18

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Established in 1990, the Property Ombudsman (TPO) is a government approved scheme providing fair, free and independent redress in relation to disputes between consumers and property agents. Responding last year to nearly 30,000 enquiries, and instructing agents to pay over £2 million of awards, TPO is the primary source of industry standards and consumer redress in an industry with widespread consumer impact. 

TPO is proud of its reputation, its strong connections with policy makers and its focus on quality, rigour and reach. However, operating in a competitive landscape, and in a sector which touches the lives of millions of people, means that TPO is not an organisation that can ever afford to stand still.  The head of the current Ombudsman, Katrine Sporle, stepping down in 2020 after 5 years outstanding service, TPO are looking for an outstanding leader to fulfil this key leadership role, and continue to take the organisation forward.   

TPO’s new Ombudsman will play a critical role in raising the profile of the organisation and its work, improving its performance, impact and influence, and ensuring that it has the culture, partnerships and resources in place to be sustainable over the long term. They will nurture, develop and inspire TPO’s staff team, based predominantly at the Head Office in Salisbury, and represent TPO externally, including to sector leaders, policy makers, the media and a range of other cross-sector audiences.  

TPO would welcome applications for this role from people with strategic and operational leadership credentials, and a strong track record in external engagement roles and influencing policy. We need an Ombudsman with a confident and sensitive leadership style, who can motivate and energise our people and stakeholders. An understanding of redress and ombudsman services and/or of the property sector is highly desirable.  

Saxton Bampfylde Ltd is acting as an employment agency advisor to the Property Ombudsman on this appointment.  For further information about the role, including details about how to apply, please visit www.saxbam.com/appointments using reference QAQDB.  Alternatively telephone +44 (0)20 7227 0880(during office hours).  Applications should be received by noon on Tuesday 18 February 2020.

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National Trust celebrate 125th Anniversary with Zero Carbon pledge

The National Trust has today unveiled one of the UK’s biggest woodland expansion and tree planting projects in an ambitious plan to become carbon net zero by 2030 as the charity celebrates its 125th anniversary.

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National Trust outlines fresh ambition in landmark speech by Director General

  • Charity will become carbon net zero by 2030
  • 20 million trees to be planted and established over ten years to tackle climate change, creating new woodland ‘one and a half times the size of Manchester or equivalent to 42 new Sherwood Forests’
  • Ambitious plans to create green corridors for people and nature near towns and cities
  • Year-long campaign to connect people with nature during 125th anniversary year includes dancing outdoors, watching dawns and a celebration of Britain’s own blossom season
  • Continued commitment to investing in arts and heritage
  • Charity expects to welcome its six millionth member this year

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Hilary McGrady said: ‘It’s our 125th year and the National Trust has always been here for the benefit of everyone. That is why we are making these ambitious announcements in response to what is needed from our institution today.

As Europe’s biggest conservation charity, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to fight climate change, which poses the biggest threat to the places, nature and collections we care for.

People need nature now more than ever. If they connect with it then they look after it. And working together is the only way we can reverse the decline in wildlife and the challenges we face due to climate change.‘.

Source: NationalTrust.org.uk 

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