Lunchtime news Thursday 8 November 2023

The National Trust has scored its first success against the government in its bid to preserve greenbelt land. The Trust has purchased 470 acres of land for £1 million on Divis and Black Mountain near Belfast. Yesterday, the Charity Commission announced it would investigate claims that the Trust is abusing its charitable position by entering the greenbelt debate. However the Trust is also facing criticism over its sale of 45 acres of farmland in Dorset to a developer who plans to build up to 500 houses. The Trust stands to make up to £10 million profit.

According to this month’s figures from Halifax, house prices have fallen 0.5 per cent in October. It is the first time since April/May 2005 that house prices have fallen for consecutive months. For the three months to October, prices were 0.3 per cent higher than the previous quarter, continuing the slow downward trend. The average house price in the UK is now £197,248.

More and more investors have been priced out of the buy to let market said the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) yesterday. In the current climate with higher borrowing costs and tougher criteria, a landlord would need a deposit of 30 per cent, on average £65,600, which is a jump of 500 per cent since 2002.

The Treasury is preparing to reveal documents that prove Gordon Brown was considering his new policy on inheritance tax before the Tories announced theirs. The Conservatives unveiled changes to the policy at their party conference and Labour announced their own policy several days later. But in a Commons exchange between Gordon Brown and David Cameron on Tuesday, the prime minister promised to release official papers that disclose dates suggesting Brown was considering the changes in his last budget as chancellor in March.

And finally, a three bedroom house is up for sale with the ‘unusually high’ price tag of £3 million. It does happen to come with a 554-place car park, one of the busiest in Cornwall, though.