F or some time, I have been concerned at the prevalence of housing developers selling new build homes in Peterborough and across the UK with leases that end up costing families a fortune, via a medieval “ground rent” charge.
Unbelievably, 45 per cent of new builds in 2015 were leasehold and there are now 1.2 million leasehold houses (not flats) across the country.
It leads to unacceptable exploitation of new homeowners with some fees doubling within ten years and making the property hard to sell on. Developers generate extra cash by selling the free holds to homeowners and investors.
Now, as a result of lobbying in Parliament by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Leasehold Reform (of which I’m a member) and others, Government Ministers are now preparing to clamp down on the practice with new legislation.
This week, I also joined the All Party Parliamentary Group on Sepsis.
I confess that until, respectively, Lord Ashcroft and my Parliamentary colleague Mike Wood MP, almost died from this condition, I like most people knew next to nothing about it. It’s a life threatening condition caused by the body’s response to an infection - often a common bacteria - which causes it to injure its own tissue and organs. It can arise from a chest or water infection or even just cuts or bites and can lead to shock, multiple organ failure and death, especially if not recognised early and untreated.
The condition is a “silent killer” and strikes 250,000 people a year and 44,000 die as a result of it. In its early stages, sepsis can be mistaken for flu or an upset stomach but there are six signs to look out for: Slurred speech, shivering and muscle pain, passing no urine, breathlessness, discoloured skin and a “feeling like death.”
It’s vitally important that we raise the profile of Sepsis with GPs and other professionals, so that more people can be treated earlier with antibiotics and it’s good that the NHS is now retraining more staff with the appropriate expertise and there’s a big research fundraising drive.
Sepsis is curable if caught in time and people do recover but we’ve a long way to go to tackle this deadly illness.
For more information see www.sepsistrust.org