Lunchtime news Tuesday 19 February 2024

A study by Saga, which specialises in financial services for the over-50s, shows that the baby boomer generation is facing a massive increase in the cost of being looked after in their old age. The cost for an average four-year stay in a care home will double from £112,000 to £223,000 during the next 20 years. Research has found that those on a household income of less than £23,000 are the most under threat because they are too well off to qualify for free state care, but can’t cope with the costs. About 40,000 people annually end up having to sell their family home to over the cost of their care needs.

And it can only get worse as the Pensions Regulator yesterday warned that increased life expectancy had left many final salary pension schemes with huge shortfalls. The regulator said that every two years of increased life expectancy adds about five per cent additional cost to a company’s scheme. The national shortfall is currently estimated to be around £75 billion.

Lie detectors are being used by local authorities to catch benefit cheats. Harrow Council, which trialled the ‘voice risk analysis’, saved more than £336,000 in council tax benefit and housing benefit during the pilot scheme. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that lie detector tests act as a deterrent to would-be fraudsters.

The papers continue to be dominated by the nationalisation of Northern Rock. Here is a round-up of what they’ve been saying.

Analysis of Land Registry data by a property website, has thrown up the 20 most expensive streets in England and Wales. Property here will set you back an average of £4.7 million to £6.8 million. Unsurprisingly, London and the South East account for the majority of streets with the most expensive housing – top prices in these areas were more than double the value of the most expensive streets in other regions. Last year’s highest average price was more than £5.5 million for a home in the most expensive street in Kensington. This has been topped by this year’s most expensive street in Highgate, where the average home costs £6.8 million.

And finally, welcome to the world’s most expensive flat. At an estimated cost £100 million, its not yet finished, although other flats in the development have already sold for a record price of £6,000 per square foot. Designed by the Candy brothers and overlooking Hyde Park in London, the penthouse will feature bullet proof windows, purified air systms and panic rooms, along with access to an underground passage that leads to the nearby Mandarin Oriental hotel.