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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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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LRG acquires Dunlop Heywood in a surprise move into commercial property

The Leaders Romans Group has extended its activities into the commercial world with the acquisition of chartered surveying company Dunlop Heywood.

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Dunlop Heywood – established in 2008 – specialises in business rates liability and advises a wide range of clients in the aviation, docks and harbours, energy and renewables, retail and leisure sectors.

Agency group makes surprise move into commercial propertyLRG chief executive Peter Kavanagh says: “This is a fantastic acquisition for LRG, which will further enhance the range of expert property services we can offer our clients. Dunlop Heywood has a very well established market reputation for providing expert rating advice, and I am confident … we will be able to grow the business in the coming years.”

Breakdown of Trafford Council property investment of over £200m in 2019

Trafford Council in Greater Manchester, UK spent £103.4 million on purchasing and investing in property in 2019 as part of its finance strategy.

The authority has spent the cash in the hope of bringing in greater returns for council tax payers through interest on loans and from profits on any future sales of property assets, as well as supporting ongoing regeneration across Trafford.

CIS Tower part of Trafford Council property investment

Some of the money used to make these investments has come from a central government borrowing fund which offers low interest rates for local authorities and encourages them to invest in property.

The rest has come from within the council’s budget using council tax.

In total, Trafford has purchased five properties this year for a total of £50.8 million and made loans as part of its property investment strategy totalling £102.6 million.

The council bought the following properties in 2019:

  • Lacey Street Royal Mail depot, Stretford (bought for £800,000)
  • Stretford Mall (bought as part of £50 million deal with developers Bruntwood: £25 million to cover the council’s half of the purchase, a further £25 million was loaned to Bruntwood to cover their half of the costs)
  • Stamford Quarter shopping centre, Altrincham (bought as part of above £50 million Bruntwood deal)
  • Clarendon House (bought as part of above £50 million Bruntwood deal)
  • Sainsbury’s Altrincham (bought for £25million)
The old Kellogg’s site in Stretford – Trafford council property development 

 

The council loaned money to owners or developers for the following properties:

  • CIS Tower, Miller Street, Manchester city centre (loan of £60 million to owners for refinancing and refurbishing the building)
  • Four office buildings off Albert Square, Manchester city centre (loan of £17.6 million as property investment)
  • Stamford Quarter, Altrincham (£50 million loaned to Bruntwood developers as part of £100million purchase deal)
  • Stretford Mall (£50 million loaned to Bruntwood developers as part of above deal)
  • Clarendon House (£50 million loaned to Bruntwood developers as part of above deal)

The grand total of more than £203 million spent this year doesn’t include a further £2.5 million loaned to Trafford Leisure to support two leisure centres in Altrincham and Urmston.

The council made clear that the loan wasn’t part of the council’s investment strategy, but to support the centres and give staff their first pay increase in years.

Other ongoing development projects that the council has on its books include the former Kellogg’s factory site in Stretford that was bought for £12 million back in September 2017.

The site is expected to include 750 homes, an 100-bedroom hotel and a primary school once development work is finished.

Plans to merge two primary schools, knock down their 100-year-old building and replace it with a brand new 21-classroom school in Altrincham are also on the cards.

The council is still in talks with Stamford Park Infants and Junior Schools after an offer of £8 million to build a new school on the site was turned down twice.

Source: Manchester Evening 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.

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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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