Brexit: Things that will change or remain after 31 January

The UK formally leaves the European Union (EU) at 23:00 on Friday, 31 January. But it will immediately enter an 11-month transition period.

During the transition the UK will continue to obey EU rules and pay money to the EU. Most things will stay the same but there will be some changes:

Things that will change

  1.  UK MEPs lose their seats See the source image

  2. No more EU summits

  3. We will be hearing a lot about trade

  4. The UK’s passports will change colour British passports

  5. Brexit coins See the source image

  6. The UK’s Brexit department shuts down

  7. Germany won’t extradite its citizens to the UK

Things that will stay the same at least until 31 December 2020

  1. Travel People at an airport walking under a sign saying "arrivals from the European Union".

  2. Driving licences and pet passports See the source image

  3. European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) A hand holding a European Health Insurance Card

  4. Living and working in the EU See the source image

  5. Pensions

  6. Budget contributions

  7. Trade

Source: BBC News

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PGIM Real Estate acquires office building in Berlin

PGIM Real Estate, the property focused arm of PGIM, has acquired an office building in Berlin on behalf of its European value-add strategy.

Bought for an undiclosed amount, the property is located in Berlin City West, with a lettable area of some 24,500 dquare metres over nine floors. It includes 410 underground parking spaces. It is located within walking distance of the Kurfürstendamm, Bikini Berlin shopping centre and the Berlin Tiergarten.

See the source image

Current tennants include BDO, Union Investment, Kauhof Group, and the Institute for Quality Assurance and Transparency in Health Care.

Dominik Brambring, head of transactions for Germany and the Netherlands at PGIM Real Estate, said: “Berlin is a real estate market with significant growth potential. It continues to gain recognition from national and international companies, driving high demand for adequate office spaces, which is offset by a relatively low supply. This acquisition demonstrates again our ability to identify attractive properties in a highly competitive market, in line with our investment strategy and in the interest of our institutional investors.”

Source: Investment Europe

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What does UK business want from PM Boris Johnson

With an 80-seat majority, there is little doubt that PM Johnson will be able to get his party policies and campaign promises through the UK parliament without delays. This might be good or bad for UK businesses, time will tell.

See the source image

The major concern now for business is;

  • Get Brexit done

Getting Brexit Withdrawal Agreement through UK Parliament, paving the way for the UK to leave the European Union and negotiate a trade deal which will be the focus for businesses.

The prospect of an end to three years of to and fro over the issue is welcomed by the deputy director general of the CBI, Josh Hardie.

“Just the fact that we have a government with a strong majority and a mandate actually provides the opportunity to bring a bit more certainty,” he said.

But as the prime minister’s opponents were at pains to point out during the election campaign, the UK could still leave the EU without a trade deal at the end of next year unless a trade deal with the EU can be struck in record time.

Mr Hardie said British businesses would like see maximum alignment with the bloc, describing a relationship of frictionless trade very similar to EU membership, but the new government has promised an arms length arrangement, with the UK outside both the EU single market and the customs union.

Mike Cherry, the national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said Brexit could provide an opportunity for British firms to expand into other overseas markets such as the US, Canada and Australia. But the UK’s relationship with the EU remains the first item on the agenda.

  • Improving Infrastructure and investment

Mr Johnson welcomed the election result with a promise to “repay the trust” of voters in the north of England who swung behind the Conservatives, many for the first time in their lives.

There is an expectation that the previous Conservative government’s Northern Powerhouse plans will get further backing. The Times has suggested the prime minister could be planning to pump as much as £80bn into projects in key northern seats in a bid to cement his new voters’ support.

“The Conservative manifesto recognised the role for vital infrastructure in supporting the economy, from Northern Powerhouse Rail to gigabit broadband.See the source image

“The Government now should go further and give clear backing to HS2 and Crossrail 2, as well as reaffirming support for airport expansion at London’s airports, putting in place the key building blocks needed to enable our regions to grow together.”

That kind of spending may help boost the UK’s flagging growth rates, says Yael Selfin, chief economist at accountancy firm KPMG.

She says “public spending will need to do the heavy lifting” when it comes to dispelling the cloud of uncertainty around an EU deal but it will take more than that.

“The new government must also turn its attention to some of the longer standing challenges facing the UK, such as poor productivity and declining regional opportunities, to help secure a better long term future, while addressing the challenges and opportunities presented by new technology and climate change.

 

  • Effective Immigration policy

Mr Johnson has pledged to introduce a points-based immigration system that would sort migrant workers into three categories.

The first tier, entrepreneurs, investors and people who have won awards in certain fields, would receive fast-track entry under the system.

Meanwhile, skilled workers, such as doctors, nurses and other health professionals, who have a confirmed job offer, would be placed in another category, with those eligible for an NHS visa also receiving fast-track entry and reduced fees.

For low-skilled or unskilled workers, sector-specific rules would be put in place, enabling British firms to fill gaps where UK workers cannot be found.

See the source image

But the plans have come under fire from business leaders who have said the proposed policy is too vague and would affect their ability to plan for the future.

The CBI’s Mr Hardie said while a points-based system could work if designed to respond to the needs of the economy, but more detail would be welcome.

Catherine McGuinness, policy chair at the City of London Corporation, the governing body of London’s financial district, said Mr Johnson should bear in mind that services were “the lifeblood” of the UK economy but relied on “attracting, retaining and developing high quality talent”

  • Reform of Business rates

Boris Johnson has pledged to reform business rates, which have been blamed for tough times on the High Street, with well-known chains shutting stores across the country over the past few years.

See the source image

But that could take time, according to Mr Cherry from the Federation of Small Businesses. Just a review of rates could take up to five years, he said.

At present, business rates are based on the size of a firm’s property as well as revenues, in most cases.

 

But Mr Cherry said the tax was charged “before you even turn over your first pound, let alone make any profit”.

Mr Hardie from the CBI said the business rates system was “fundamentally broken” and urged “radical reform”.

For many firms, especially in the retail sector, reform of business rates, which they have been calling for for several years, remains the top priority.

Source: BBC News

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Safety at Home: Carbon monoxide kills

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odourless, colourless, non-irritant gas, killing 50 people each year in the UK and making hundreds more seriously ill.

CO poisoning occurs when gas-fired appliances such as boilers, cookers and fires are not operating correctly. With research indicating that nearly a quarter of UK homes have one or more defective gas appliance, it is vital your appliances are checked regularly.

See the source image

If your boiler is more than 10 years old or has been infrequently serviced in the past, you really should get it checked by a Gas safe registered engineer. Fitting a European standard certified audible carbon monoxide alarm is a vital second line of defence after having  your appliances safety checked. It is essential that your alarm is marked with the EN50291 safety standard and with the CE mark.

Vital signs and symptoms to look out for CO poisoning include:

  • Sooting and staining on or around your gas boiler or other gas appliances.
  • Excessive condensation in the room where an appliance is installed.
  • A lazy, yellow-orange gas flame instead of blue.
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea and can be mistaken for flu, a virus and even food poisoning.
  • Breathlessness
  • Lost of consciousness

For more information on carbon monoxide poisoning visit http://www.hse.gov.uk

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Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

Experts links Killer diseases such as cancer to air pollution in UK

The UK’s failure to meet World Health Organisation standards limiting the amount of ultra-fine particles in the air represents a major danger to health that is only now being recognised, experts claim.

Studies published this year link the particles to cancers, lung and heart disease, adverse effects on foetal development, and poor lung and brain development in children. They are considered a key threat to health because they go deep into the lungs and then reach other organs, including the brain. But European standards allow the levels of particles in the air to be 2.5 times higher than those stipulated by the WHO.

See the source image

Professor Annette Peters, director of the Institute of Epidemiology at the Helmholtz Zentrum, Munich, said Europe – and the UK – urgently needs to introduce tougher standards. She said: “Particles are a major and invisible danger to our health, especially in London and our big cities.

The US has a standard of 12 micrograms of ultra-fine particles per cubic metre, while the WHO standard is 10 micrograms.

“We [the UK and EU’s limits] are currently at 25 micrograms per cubic metre – double the US standards,” said Peters, who warned that scientific evidence confirming the threat they pose to human health “has really strengthened this year”.

See the source image

“We initially had evidence of the effect on the lungs and heart, but now we also have evidence that it alters the metabolism as well as impacting the brain.

Vehicle emissions are predominantly to blame, but domestic heating systems and industrial pollutants are also factors. “Recent studies from London and our work in a medium-sized community in southern Germany show there really is evidence that the ultra-fine particles go beyond the lungs,” Peters said.

Source: The Guardian 

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EU to spend over £12bn on satellites to track CO2 emissions across the globe.

Europe will press ahead with a network of satellites to track carbon dioxide emissions across the globe.

They will be developed out of a new European Space Agency (Esa) budget agreed in Seville, Spain.

Artwork: Space Rider

Research ministers on Thursday approved a package of proposals worth some €14.4bn (£12.3bn/$15.9bn) over the next five years.

As well as the new CO2 monitoring system, the funds will also pave the way for missions to the Moon and Mars.

It should be stated that Copernicus is a joint venture between Esa and the EU, with the latter covering 70% of the overall costs. Brussels’ contribution to the expansion programme has yet to be determined.

“There is today about €6bn (£5.1bn) foreseen as part of the [EU] budget for space. And we look forward to completing the constellation with the recurring [satellites] which are to be paid for by the EU along with, of course, their operation,” explained Esa EO director, Josef Aschbacher.

Across the entire Space19+ budget request, the top contributing countries were:

  • Germany – €3.3bn (£2.8bn), which is a 23% share of the total budget
  • France – €2.7bn (£2.3bn), which is an 18.5% share
  • Italy – €2.3bn (£1.8bn), which is 16%
  • UK – €1.6bn (£1.4bn), which is 11.5%

The UK’s subscription after this meeting will rise from €355m (£304m) per year to €440m (£377m) per year.

Source: BBC News

 

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3 out of 10 priceless diamonds stolen from German museum

Burglars have stolen three diamond jewellery sets from one of Europe’s largest treasure collections – the Dresden Green Vault in eastern Germany.

The historic sets consist of 37 parts each, and there are fears the thieves may try to break them up.

Officials are still trying to establish exactly how much was stolen in the break-in early on Monday.

A mother of pearl box

Saxony’s ruler, Augustus the Strong, created the collection in 1723 in what is one of the world’s oldest museums.

“Three out of 10 diamond sets have gone,” said Marion Ackermann, head of the Dresden state museums.

The stolen sets from the Green Vault (Grünes Gewölbe) are reported to also include some rubies, emeralds and sapphires.

The popular German daily Bild said the thieves had grabbed jewels worth €1bn (£855m).

Source: BBC News

 

 

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Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

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Climate Change: Global flood emergency crisis

Global flood emergency, evacuation, disruption, destruction of properties and even death has been seen all over the world in Europe, Asia, African etc

Europe

UK – Evacuations After Heavy Rain and Floods in Northern and Central England. 8 November, 2019. Parts of northern and central England saw around a month’s worth of rain on 07 November, 2019. Rivers in South Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and most of the north of England. Rescuers pull a boat through floodwater in Fishlake, Doncaster

Italy – Parts of the Italian city of Venice have been left under water after the highest tide in more than 50 years. The waters peaked at 1.87m (6ft), according to the tide monitoring centre. Only once since records began in 1923 has the tide been higher, reaching 1.94m in 1966. People wade through water in St Mark's Square

 Asia

India – Monsoon floods hit more than 25 million people in S. Asia By Robin Gomes More than 25 million people are hit by flooding due to the torrential monsoon rains in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Myanmar, with more than half a million people displaced, according to humanitarian groups collaborating with United Nations agencies. Death toll rises to more than 660 in South Asia. Severe floods and lightning kill at least 666 across India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan as monsoon takes its toll.

Japan – At least nine people are reported dead as Japan recovers from its biggest storm in decades. Typhoon Hagibis triggered floods and landslides as it battered the country with wind speeds of 225km/h.

Africa

Mozambique – The floods in Mozambique, one of Africa’s poorest countries, have already destroyed 5,756 homes, affecting 15,467 households and 141,325 people.

Central African Republic – More than 6,000 people have lost their homes to flooding in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic. Heavy rains have worsened the plight of residents following the outburst.

South Africa –  Durban floods; Seventy people died in floods that ravaged parts of the coastal province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa’s southeast, local authorities said.

Global Initiatives and actions are required to address one of the critical issues of our time.

 

Fewest UK homes being put on sale since 2016 as Brexit nears – RICS

Britons are holding off from trying to sell their homes due to uncertainty about when and how Britain will leave the European Union, according to a survey published by RICS which adds to signs of a slowdown in the housing market.

PIPA property photo

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said new sales instructions fell last month (Sep. 2019) at the fastest pace since June 2016, when Britain voted to leave the EU in a referendum.

(Source from UK Reuters News)

Buying a property in the UK as a foreigner

As a foreigner you can buy property in the UK, even if you do not live in the UK.

That said, buying property in the UK as a foreigner is easier if you are a cash buyer – i.e. do not need to apply for a mortgage or additional borrowing as it may be difficult to apply for such a mortgage.

Therefore, if you are looking to buy a property, it is important that you have a full understanding of the UK property market and have access to funds. I am able to provide my professional service to help you from start to finish.

It is also important to remember that, while the pound exchange rate is currently unstable due to Brexit, property prices in the UK are still comparatively high, depending on the area.

However, if you can afford to buy a property outright, yields from rental income can be high, while property prices tend to rise.

It is not yet known quite how Brexit (the UK’s exit from the EU) will affect overseas buyers of UK property, or house prices in general, and we are also aware that the UK Government has plans to introduce an additional tax for foreigners buying property in the UK.
Presently to buy a property in the UK, you have to consider the following;
Your budget price range – How much you can afford to pay.
Property location – Where are you looking to buy as prices can be significantly high in London area compare to other parts of UK
Proof of Identify and Financial Income – This is very important for the property transaction to be successful and will include the following; Name(s) and address(es) of buyer(s), Nationality and residential status, Occupation and nature of employment (Employed or self employed), Employer’s name and address, Length of time in current employment, Income details (usually three years).
Property transaction taxes – This is called Stamp duty land tax (England and Northern Ireland).  For 2018/2019 rates for buy to let and second property which is most likely to be in the case of a foreign buyer £40k – £125K is 3% rate, £125K – £250K is 5% rate, £250k – £925K is 8% rate, etc.
Property purchase completion – A Solicitor or licensed conveyancer is required to process and complete all legal requirement for the house purchase. A conveyancing fee and disbursement is paid by the buyer. Solicitor may ask the buyer to deposit a sum of money at the start of the process to cover for the disbursement (Stamp duty land tax, property registration fees, searches etc) as they arise.
Property Insurance and Council Tax – Annual property insurance and council tax are required by law.
For more information and for my service in actualising your UK property purchase, do not hesitate to contact me.
By
Dennis Bebo TA DenEco Consultancy