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I was actually thinking of doing a recap on the most read posts on London Expat but decided that I should be looking forward instead. Even though England retained the Ashes, 2010 is the year plagued by strikes, riots and protests brought forth by the austerity drive proposed by the first Coalition government that Britain has embraced for decades. In short, we should be glad that the year is coming to a close.
Going forward, what should we expect in 2011? Here are five predictions that London Expat is making.
Strikes will not go on during Royal Wedding
Mark Serwotka, of the Public and Commercial Services Union, has confirmed that the 300,000 strong union will be going on a mass strike protesting the public sector cuts meant to narrow Britain’s budget deficit. The series of strikes coincide with the Royal Wedding in April and is likely to be telecast worldwide because of that.
Britain is looking for some good cheer and the Royal Wedding would bring just that; public support for these strikes will fizzle towards the actual date making them indefensible. Either that or the government will blink and renegotiate, thus delaying the remedy to the ballooning deficit inherited from Labour. Britain cannot afford another poking in the Royal’s ribs.
London house prices will stabilise
Nationwide predicts that house prices across Britain would drop in the first half of 2011 despite a 0.4% increase in December 2010. Even if that turns out to be true, house prices in London will be stabilising at the very least if not increase in 2011. With the weak pound and the lowest prices in recent memory, London housing market would be lent a helping hand by the wealthy Russians, Chinese, Indians and other Asians. Despite Britain’s slowing economic growth, there is still this irresistible exoticism about the country that Shakespeare and Dickens hailed from. Furthermore, having a property overseas is one of the ways to keep safekeep your money if things go wrong back home.
Coalition government will go hard on rioters
The students weren’t reined in during the recent tuition fees riots because it was seen as a direct consequence of a broken promise made by Lib Dem prior to the general election. The student protests are set to continue after the new year celebrations and it would reach a breaking point when the people question the wanton destruction of public properties. That will force the Coalition’s hand.
Visa restrictions will not be effective
Cameron might be able to restrict the number of visas given to those from outside of the EU despite calls from the science and business community to do otherwise; his hands are tied when it comes to immigration from within the EU. Already, the Irish are heading to Britain in search of greener pastures and the trend is set to continue way into 2011 rendering Cameron’s rhetoric meaningless. Yes, it is going to exceed “tens of thousands”.
One New Change will tank
The shiny shopping mall three years in the making opened its doors towards the end of 2010. Boosted by names like Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey, One New Change looks set to take the capital by storm. Other than its central location, One New Change is really a smaller Westfield but nothing more. It cannot escape the fact that tourists would prefer St. Pauls Cathedral to a yet another shopping mall and the area is downright quiet during off peak hours when the working crowd departs for home.
While I hesitate to say that One New Change will shut but my bet would be that some big tenants will leave by end 2011.
What are your predictions for the new year? Would love to hear them. Happy New Year!