Elena is a 26 year old Italian woman with a degree in child psychology who has been working in London as a nursery teacher for nearly a year. She moved to the UK after months spent looking in vain for a job in Tuscany, a region where the unemployment rate, at 7.9%, is well below the Italian average of 11.3%.
But Elena is not counted among more than 16,000 Italians that moved to the UK, according to official statistics updated for the FT by the Italian Ministry of Interior. These numbers are based on the registry of Italians living abroad (AIRE). Elena has a vague knowledge of this register but decided not to sign up for fear of losing important rights and services (including healthcare) in her home country. Read more
Much of the coverage of the latest English Housing Survey figures has focused on the booming private rented sector. But there’s something interesting to be said about the social rented sector too. Namely, that social housing is ageing – maybe even dying.
Not just figuratively – the proportion of housing stock which is social rented has dropped from nearly a third in 1980 to under 17 per cent in 2013 – but also literally, in terms of its tenants.
The biggest group of tenants in social housing is not, as is popularly thought, the unemployed. It’s not the working poor either. The biggest group of tenants in England’s social housing is retired people.
By contrast, the biggest group in private rented housing is full-time workers.
As a result, social housing is dominated by older people – while private rented housing is dominated by young people. Read more
Members of the professional middle class in England and Wales have seen a rapid decline in their options when looking for a place to buy a house. The number of electoral wards where the average property price is above the affordability threshold has risen from just 101 (1.1 per cent) in 1995 to 489 (5.7 per cent) in 2012.
By Paul Hodges
Two remarkable global demographic developments have occurred since 1950. Yet only recently have their impact on companies and the economy begun to be properly understood.
Life expectancy has risen by 50 per cent since 1950 (red column) to average around 70 years today, due to advances in disease prevention and knowledge about healthier lifestyles.
Total fertility rates have halved over the same period (green shading). The average woman now has only 2.5 children, as increased life expectancy means large families are no longer so essential for economic survival. Read more
by Thomas Hale
Fears of an incipient housing bubble in London – and concerns about the UK property sector in general – are soaring as quickly as the prices themselves. But not all bubbles are created equal – especially when it comes to first-time buyers.
How might rising house prices affect first-time buyers? The graph below shows the average UK house price compared to how much of the average take-home pay first-time buyers spend on repayments.
The most striking thing about the graph is the way price correlates so strongly to the stretched nature of first-time buyer households until mid-2009, at which point the two lines start to move in opposite directions. Prices have begun to go up again, but first-time buyers have become consistently less stretched across the UK. Read more
(c) Getty Images
By Henry Foy
Ten things to know about the 48 hour London tube strike that began last night:
1. 3.4m people use the tube every day, according to Transport for London (TFL). Not today they didn’t.
2. The strike is all about jobs. Boris Johnson and TFL, which runs the Tube, wants to close all tube ticket offices by 2015, at a cost of 750 jobs.
3. TFL say the public support the plans. Eighty-two per cent of respondents to their survey backed the move to close ticket offices, it said. But the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union, which is taking part in the strike, said a survey it commissioned found 65 per cent of tube users felt industrial action as a last resort was justified.
4. Forty-three stations, or 16 per cent of the total station network, were completely closed on Wednesday morning, TFL said. Read more
Turmoil, panic, retreat: it’s not been a pretty start to the year for emerging market currencies and stock markets. Here, in seven charts, is the story of 2014 so far.
1. The equity context
As the base of the turmoil is the reverse of the post-crisis trend in capital flows, which began last summer on talk of the Fed taper. Money is leaving the emerging markets and returning to Europe. EPFR Global, which tracks investment flows, estimates that emerging market equity outflows hit $12.2bn in January.
News that Lloyds has raised to an eye-watering £9.8bn its provisions to cover claims over the mis-selling of payment protection performance (PPI) is a reminder the issue is far from over for UK banks.
The big five high street banks have set aside just under £20bn to date to cover both compensation and the associated administrative costs of assessing claims. Lloyds is by far the worst hit of the major UK banks, but the sums set aside by the others are still substantial.