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EU Brexit thread

#41 User is offline   akwoo 

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Posted 2016-March-06, 14:14

The real culprit for the housing crisis is stupid zoning laws. (In most places, tearing down a single family home and putting up 100 condos is illegal.)
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#42 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2016-March-06, 19:22

View Posthelene_t, on 2016-March-06, 13:35, said:

I probably have the opposite bias but as I see it, poor immigrants are not the main culprit of the housing crisis. Wealth inequality allows a few rich people to own most of the land suitable for housing, making land unaffordable to ordinary people regardless of nationality. This doesn't have much to do with globalization. My guess would be that migration has caused a negative nett pressure on the British property market because British expats tend to be better off than immigrants in the UK, and richer people demand more land for housing.

If you absolutely need to blame some foreigners then blame the Russian mafia and the Saudi princes for pushing up property prices in London.

It is a really annoying phenomena that people prefer to find poor scapegoats instead of rich scapegoats. I am not a sociologist but my guess would be that it is because it feels good to identify oneself with the fat cats while distancing oneself from the roaches.


British industry workers lost their jobs because we buy industry products from China. After having left the EU It may well be in the interest of British workers to isolate the country from the rest of the World, but I think that the majority of the British people don't want to lose their cheap Chinese imports.



Helene,
Among anyone I know, I think you have moved the most from country to country. I think you briefly considered the USA. So I am going to ask for your impression. Not proof, just your impression.

Take a modest profession. For example, when I see a doctor I call the office and there is some scheduling and some paper work to be done. Someone does this. Or consider a gardener for a national cemetery. Or a roofer.

Let's now consider what, for many, is a goal for life: Marriage, family, a house, and perhaps children.

Do you see the UK as being better, worse, or about the same as other countries when Joe and Jo attempt to reach their goals?

I am struck by the similarities of the discussion here with discussions in the US, At one time, people such as my father, immigrant, school ending after 8th grade (=age 13), succeeded in a goal such as described above. The thought is that this is no longer possible. Not possible here, not possible I gather in the UK, maybe not in the EU. As I grew up, my father's income sufficed. Now it is not clear that both parents working will suffice. Although I know cases where it seems to, so this is confusing.


Feel free to vary the parameters as you see fit if you can respond here.
I don't expect to be telling the English what they are to do on the In/Out debate, but I hope to understand the issues surrounding this.
Ken
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#43 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2016-March-07, 04:35

View Postkenberg, on 2016-March-06, 19:22, said:

Let's now consider what, for many, is a goal for life: Marriage, family, a house, and perhaps children.

Do you see the UK as being better, worse, or about the same as other countries when Joe and Jo attempt to reach their goals?

I am flattered that you consider me a relevant source in this matter but the truth is that I have only moved between relatively similar countries and mostly I have applied for jobs in the academic field which is obviously very homogenous worldwide compared to other trades.

Nevertheless I have a few observations of the UK compared to other countries with respect to the way hopefull immigrants are welcomed. Obviously too small a sample size to draw any conclusions, but I will try.

My own experience with immigration officials, healthcare, housing market, job market etc was much more positive in the UK than in other countries, even when compared to my native Denmark where you should think that I, as a returning expat, would face minimal discrimination. But this is an unfair comparison since UK was the last country I moved to, and things become smoother as European integration progresses (first time I moved to NL I was technically an illegal immigrant, things have changed), society becomes more modern, and above all my own skills and experience have improved over the years. And I spoke English already before moving to the UK. In fact, when I moved to the Netherlands for the third time (now speaking the language fluently and having a PhD and a job offer, and NL having implemented the Maastricht treatment) I faced a smooth settling process similarly to moving to the UK.

With that in mind, and also when looking at how colleagues from non-EU countries have been treated, I still rate the UK as an extremely immigrant-friendly country, with Denmark being very anti-immigrant and the Netherlands somewhere in between. Some cases stories:

My inlaws are somewhat atypical Polish immigrants in the sense that they don't stick to the Polish community but mend with the locals. Sister-in-law hitchhiked from Katowice to Kent (a place without much Polish community), no money and no plans, a driver who picked her up just days before her money were running out allowed her to stay at her place, she got a relationship with the driver's son, got a job in the NHS, got married to a UKIP-voter who hates all immigrants except his own family, bought an adorable terraced house and set up a small business. Somehow I find it difficult to imagine this happening in Denmark.

All three stepsons also set up their own businesses. Gosh13 also, as well as her cousin. This obviously says more about the Polish diaspoara in general and my inlaws in particular than about the UK, but in Denmark they would have run into so many problems with bureacracy, unions, adverse tax incitements and lack of customer acceptance that some if not all of them would probably have stumbled.

A friend married a guy from Kenya and took him to the Netherlands. He got so depressed from all the racism he faced, not so much overt racism from random people on the street but more the coldness from colleagues and neighbours who are too civilised to shout racist swearwords at him but ..... . So eventually they moved to Kenya with their two children. A somewhat unusual story from the Netherlands, but similar stories are frequent in Denmark. Much less in the UK, in my impression.

Maybe the general picture is this: In Denmark it is extremely difficult to get anywhere at all as a newcomer. Police, local authorities, landlords, employers will all do what they can to keep you out of the country or at least confined to an assylum centre or some ghetto where crime and unemployment benefits are the most natural sources of income. But once you manage to become one of "them" (which does occasinally happen to some very persistent immigrants, or those with very valuable professional qualifications), you will enjoy all the benefits of an egalitarian society, i.e. there will be no particular reason why your children couldn't become CEOs or marry someone from the royal family.

In the UK, the situation is completely different and probably familiar to you as an American (USA probably even more extreme than the UK): It is very easy to get a little bit integrated in the society: find a semi-regular job and semi-regular housing, become a semi-legal immigrant etc. But getting from there to the British middle class is a long haul which can take generations, and in the meantime you are in the same sh!t as the native underdogs.

And then the Netherlands is somewhere in between.

I thought of a rant about Israel also but nevermind - I lived in a kibbutz which is somewhat detached from the normal Israelian society, about which I can't say much. Spoiler: This was a bizare experience in good and bad ways, and makes all the Western European countries look very similar to each other.
You might speculate on the psychopathology of some posters but hating them seems excessive --- Nige1
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#44 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2016-March-07, 07:24

View Posthelene_t, on 2016-March-06, 13:35, said:

If you absolutely need to blame some foreigners then blame the Russian mafia and the Saudi princes for pushing up property prices in London.

It may be an unpopular view but those "foreigners" are pretty much what has kept the UK economy afloat during this crisis. The economy is still built on house prices just as much as it always has been, perhaps more. Every time there is negative equity this is a disaster for the UK. It may be terrible for individuals trying to get onto the property ladder that house prices did not fall more than they did but it is invaluable on a macro level. "Out of control" will be the result of the economy doing relatively well for as long as the economy remains structured the way it is. Immigration helps to support that process to the extent that if every immigrant left the country tomorrow, it could easily lead to a decline that takes a generation to recover from.

But sure, blame the people coming in filling skill shortages and doing the minimum-wage jobs no Brit is willing to do for all that is wrong with the world. Statistically it is very clear that immigrants, particularly those from Eastern Europe and India, benefit the UK economy enormously. If we were to have a logical economic policy after a "Leave" vote it would probably include (close to) free movement from those countries. But one has then to ask, what would we get from an exit other than additional trade tariffs and the ability to squash workers' rights? The former is essentially the reason why the LibDems, CBI and most business leaders are against an exit, the latter the reasoning of the Labour party and most industrial unions.

Finally, to Ken, it varies greatly between areas in the UK as to how foreigners are seen. As a teenager I lived with foster parents and the "father" was quite open about having agreed with some of the other men in the sleepy Dorset village that if any black family ever moved in, they would drive them out before any more could arrive. And I would suggest that is not atypical of many traditional Tory areas, even if it is usually less overt. The cities tend to have a different attitude but even there it is often the case that 2 or 3 communities develop that have almost no contact between them. As an example, when I did door-to-door canvassing in Manchester, we almost never knocked an Asian estate.

In my view the racism still runs deep and that is certainly a major factor in the coming referendum. The other is related, that many want a return to some idealised Britain before the wars, where we "rule the waves" and have a seat at the top table in world affairs. That notion is nonsense of course but the idea is a powerful one and one that I think the "Leave" camp will need to tap into if they are to mount a successful campaign.
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#45 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2016-March-07, 07:27

Thanks Helene.

Of course I believe in data and statistics, but I also put a great deal of stock in personal observation and judgment. Your post was very interesting.
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#46 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2016-March-07, 08:07

View PostStevenG, on 2016-March-06, 13:16, said:

Where do you expect to build these cheap houses? What do you think happens to land prices for building plots when such land is as scarce as it is? Why should any developer build cheap houses when they can sell expensive ones?


I was wondering also where mike777 lives that he imagines that there is all this land waiting around to be built on.
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#47 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2016-March-07, 08:17

View PostZelandakh, on 2016-March-07, 07:24, said:

But sure, blame the people coming in filling skill shortages and doing the minimum-wage jobs no Brit is willing to do for all that is wrong with the world. Statistically it is very clear that immigrants, particularly those from Eastern Europe and India, benefit the UK economy enormously.

I think it is important to shed light on exactly how immigrants benefit the economy. It is not necesarilly about pressing wages down and thereby boost company profits. When I first moved to the Netherlands, I had an enourmous number (appr 100) job interviews, and I often asked the reps why they had chosen to set up their business in the Netherlands, and how it was to run a business there compared to other countries. Some reactions I still recall:

British small-business owner in Utrecht said:

The Netherlands is a closed community. If I need anything from the bank, for example, I have to send a native deputee. A Dutch bank would never lend money to an Englishman

Bangladeshi business owner near Utrecht said:

The Netherlands is an open society. I can do my business here in fair competition with Dutch companies

Dutch e-sex entrepreneur in the Randstad said:

Amsterdam is full of beautiful girls from all over the World. And the jobs we can offer them would hardly be legal, never mind qualifying us to sponsor their residence permit, in many other places

Danish venture capitalist, setting up an electronics factory near the Randstad said:

Production staff can be hired anywhere. We need to set up the factory in a place where it is easy to recruit R/D staff

Jamaican manager at Hewlett-Packard in Amsterdam said:

Lately we needed to bring over 40 Brasilians to to serve Portuguese speaking customers. Their work permits were sorted in less than two weeks. In most other countries it would have taken months

Obviously those employers are not typical - they were all in a position to move their business abroad and might well do so if the immigration authorities did not cooperate. If I had asked a restaurant owner or the owner of a small construction company, the picture would have been different.
Compare the remarks from the British and the Bangladeshi business owner. Same region, same industry, established around the same time. But maybe their frame of references were different.
The British guy send me a long email apologising for not being able to offer me a job although I was the best qualified candidate. But he was afraid that customers would not like the fact that I was transsexual. He also said that in the UK he would never have been honest about this since it would be illegal but in the Netherlands discrimination is apparently OK. The Bangladeshi guy, like most employers, didn't give any feedback on the interview.
You might speculate on the psychopathology of some posters but hating them seems excessive --- Nige1
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#48 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2016-March-07, 08:52

View PostZelandakh, on 2016-March-07, 07:24, said:

what would we get from an exit other than additional trade tariffs and the ability to squash workers' rights?

Good point. BTW two additional benefits would be the ability to squash the environment, and consumer's rights.
You might speculate on the psychopathology of some posters but hating them seems excessive --- Nige1
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#49 User is offline   StevenG 

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Posted 2016-March-07, 09:20

View Posthelene_t, on 2016-March-07, 08:17, said:

I think it is important to shed light on exactly how immigrants benefit the economy

When you talk about "the economy", do you mean a set of numbers? Because I take the view that the economy should be something with a purpose, and that that purpose should benefit the people within the economy. So, in my view, suppressing wages does not benefit those people who have lower wages than they would without the immigrants.

I don't see the other measures that are quoted as necessarily of value, either. Sometimes we are told that immigrants pay more taxes than they receive in benefits. Yet, we are not told what the effect is on benefit payments to and taxes received from the native population. Sometimes we are told that, on average, one immigrant creates more than one job. I find that so counter-intuitive that I cannot believe the truth of it. But, even if it were true, so what? The jobs created are essentially non-productive jobs - teachers, nurses, police, etc.. This is economic activity, not wealth creation. (An elderly person with dementia also creates jobs in the care industry, while clearly no longer being of any economic benefit.)

I take the view that the balance of trade is the key statistic. It is still massively in deficit and shows no sign of ever improving. As a country, we consume far more each year than we create. That is not a sustainable position and population growth only exacerbates the situation.
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#50 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2016-March-07, 09:47

I lived in Estonia during the period when they were hoping to get into the EU. Their decision-making and fact-finding process revolved mainly around talks with Irish officials. The Estonians wanted to join the EU solely to be given a similar sum of money as had been recently given to the Irish. Just saying.

By the way, if discrimination in the Netherlands is legal, it seems to indicate that good laws and regulations from the UK are not exported to the rest of the EU, while we have to adopt poor laws and regulations from elsewhere.
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#51 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2016-March-07, 09:48

View PostZelandakh, on 2016-March-07, 07:24, said:

It may be an unpopular view but those "foreigners" are pretty much what has kept the UK economy afloat during this crisis. The economy is still built on house prices just as much as it always has been, perhaps more. Every time there is negative equity this is a disaster for the UK. It may be terrible for individuals trying to get onto the property ladder that house prices did not fall more than they did but it is invaluable on a macro level. "Out of control" will be the result of the economy doing relatively well for as long as the economy remains structured the way it is. Immigration helps to support that process to the extent that if every immigrant left the country tomorrow, it could easily lead to a decline that takes a generation to recover from.

But sure, blame the people coming in filling skill shortages and doing the minimum-wage jobs no Brit is willing to do for all that is wrong with the world. Statistically it is very clear that immigrants, particularly those from Eastern Europe and India, benefit the UK economy enormously. If we were to have a logical economic policy after a "Leave" vote it would probably include (close to) free movement from those countries. But one has then to ask, what would we get from an exit other than additional trade tariffs and the ability to squash workers' rights? The former is essentially the reason why the LibDems, CBI and most business leaders are against an exit, the latter the reasoning of the Labour party and most industrial unions.

Finally, to Ken, it varies greatly between areas in the UK as to how foreigners are seen. As a teenager I lived with foster parents and the "father" was quite open about having agreed with some of the other men in the sleepy Dorset village that if any black family ever moved in, they would drive them out before any more could arrive. And I would suggest that is not atypical of many traditional Tory areas, even if it is usually less overt. The cities tend to have a different attitude but even there it is often the case that 2 or 3 communities develop that have almost no contact between them. As an example, when I did door-to-door canvassing in Manchester, we almost never knocked an Asian estate.

In my view the racism still runs deep and that is certainly a major factor in the coming referendum. The other is related, that many want a return to some idealised Britain before the wars, where we "rule the waves" and have a seat at the top table in world affairs. That notion is nonsense of course but the idea is a powerful one and one that I think the "Leave" camp will need to tap into if they are to mount a successful campaign.


I disagree with a lot of this. The UK really is two housing markets. Most of London & the SE (and possibly to a lesser extent some areas of Manchester), and everywhere else. The rampant house price growth is largely confined to the former. A popping of the bubble there would not be a total disaster. Lots of negative equity in the rest of the country would be terrible. The question is to whether you can have the former without the latter.

2 different things, filling skill shortages and unskilled immigrants. Real skill shortages when filled by immigrants are a benefit to the UK. Some of them I feel (Bangladeshi curry house chefs for example) are trumped up to get relatives into the country. You could train locals to do this. The unskilled immigrants simply drive wages down to a level that native Brits won't do the job. If the immigrants weren't available, the wages would have to go up. There are some sectors where this would cause issues (care being a prime one).

When was your experience in Dorset ? My experience of a sleepy village where my dad lives doesn't tally with this. The most bizarre instance I'd come across was a friend wanted to buy a house in North London and virtually had to pretend he was Jewish to get the estate agent to show him round.
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#52 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2016-March-07, 13:54

I have been to the UK often and seen lots of land to build on. On top of all of that you can tear down homes, factories, office building and build on that. If the government is driving up the cost of the land in your local area, you may have to change that govt.

In any case if we assume all of the land in the entire UK is built on and very expensive, so expensive the cost is "out of control" that sounds like a land bubble. A bubble that sounds like per these posts that is about to burst in areas of the UK.

As for London, a truly great world city, it may indeed be too expensive to live in and raise a family. I lived in Los Angels before the great real estate bust. Housing was indeed out of control in any area of the city I would want to live in. I mean homes cost 1M or more. I had to move thousands of miles away and find a new job. Now I live on a tiny street with no sidewalks, no curbs, no street lights and various animals roam my yard eating my garden. That may be the choice many immigrants and others may have to make in the UK if they wish to own a home.

------
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Side note on housing costs, I grew up on the South side of Chicago. I am told today you can buy homes on the West and South side of the city for as little as one dollar.
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#53 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2016-March-07, 14:44

View Postmike777, on 2016-March-07, 13:54, said:

I have been to the UK often and seen lots of land to build on.


Sure, you could build on all the land there is. Then you would never have a housing crisis because everyone would have moved away from such a miserable place.

Have you ever been to the United States? It is hard to find figures for England because it is usually grouped as the UK, but of all the states only NJ is more densely populated than England. Rhode Island may have also been a few years ago, but that state has not been experiencing the massive net migration that England has.

There is really, truly, little room to build housing. There are some brownbelt sites that can be redeveloped.
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#54 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2016-March-07, 16:38

Ok so the immigrants and people who want a single family home with a nice yard and garden that is cheap may have to move out of England to other parts of the UK, got it. They may not get to live In London, got it. So they may have to move to Northern Ireland or northern Scotland, got it. See my post, I moved thousands of miles away.
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#55 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2016-March-07, 16:53

View Postmike777, on 2016-March-07, 16:38, said:

Ok so the immigrants and people who want a single family home with a nice yard and garden that is cheap may have to move out of England to other parts of the UK, got it. They may not get to live In London, got it. So they may have to move to Northern Ireland or northern Scotland, got it. See my post, I moved thousands of miles away.


Where there are no jobs, this is the problem. Where the jobs are, housing is desperately expensive.
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#56 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2016-March-07, 18:18

View PostCyberyeti, on 2016-March-07, 16:53, said:

Where there are no jobs, this is the problem. Where the jobs are, housing is desperately expensive.


Ahh so the real problem is not a lack of land to build on. got it. The real problem is what economic policy can the UK or local govts pass that will encourage job creation. How can the UK in such places where land is at least cheaper and material for construction is cheaper and labor is cheaper encourage job creation for several million immigrants and middle class adults over the next few years, got it. How can the UK become much much more business friendly in places with "no jobs"?
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#57 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2016-March-07, 18:33

View Postmike777, on 2016-March-07, 18:18, said:

Ahh so the real problem is not a lack of land to build on. got it. The real problem is what economic policy can the UK or local govts pass that will encourage job creation. How can the UK in such places where land is at least cheaper and material for construction is cheaper and labor is cheaper encourage job creation for several million immigrants and middle class adults over the next few years, got it. How can the UK become much much more business friendly in places with "no jobs"?


It's more complicated than that. We have much more restrictive planning laws than you have in the US. You can't just buy up farmland and build on it. You may not even be able to knock a building used for business down and turn it into houses. You may not be allowed to build anything more than 2 stories high. The planning process is also long and drawn out.

Also when most of the money in the country is in London and the south east, the jobs that provide services for people who can pay for them are also there. There have been many attempts to get government departments to move out of London, which are heavily resisted by the people that work there who like London, and a lot of the attempts have been beaten back.
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#58 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2016-March-07, 18:42

View PostCyberyeti, on 2016-March-07, 18:33, said:

It's more complicated than that. We have much more restrictive planning laws than you have in the US. You can't just buy up farmland and build on it. You may not even be able to knock a building used for business down and turn it into houses. You may not be allowed to build anything more than 2 stories high. The planning process is also long and drawn out.

Also when most of the money in the country is in London and the south east, the jobs that provide services for people who can pay for them are also there. There have been many attempts to get government departments to move out of London, which are heavily resisted by the people that work there who like London, and a lot of the attempts have been beaten back.


OK thanks for the reply. Based on your post it sounds like government is the problem, not the solution but ok.

Just based on your post it sounds like somehow, someway government needs to be much more business friendly to greedy capitalists who want to make lots of money in places where there are no jobs be it in Northern Ireland, northern Scotland or wherever. At some point the margins will shrink in and around London, labor will become more expensive, etc and they may look for greener, greedier pastures. Hopefully local area govts will make policies that attract the capitalists who create the jobs.
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#59 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2016-March-08, 04:23

View Postmike777, on 2016-March-07, 18:18, said:

Ahh so the real problem is not a lack of land to build on. got it. The real problem is what economic policy can the UK or local govts pass that will encourage job creation. How can the UK in such places where land is at least cheaper and material for construction is cheaper and labor is cheaper encourage job creation for several million immigrants and middle class adults over the next few years, got it. How can the UK become much much more business friendly in places with "no jobs"?

UK is business friendly enough. The problem is that the salaries and benefits are too low so consumers have no money. So you can't sell anything in the UK.
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#60 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2016-March-08, 04:46

View Postmike777, on 2016-March-07, 18:42, said:

OK thanks for the reply. Based on your post it sounds like government is the problem, not the solution but ok.

Just based on your post it sounds like somehow, someway government needs to be much more business friendly to greedy capitalists who want to make lots of money in places where there are no jobs be it in Northern Ireland, northern Scotland or wherever. At some point the margins will shrink in and around London, labor will become more expensive, etc and they may look for greener, greedier pastures. Hopefully local area govts will make policies that attract the capitalists who create the jobs.


Be careful, NI and Scotland have their own govenments that have power over some of this. London is almost completely service industry based and makes very little. There are some incentives to move away from London, but if a service industry's key asset is its staff, and they don't want to move, what do you do ?
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