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Are YOUR home renovations reducing the price of your property?

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are your home renovations reducing the price of your property

Many people have spent lockdown overhauling their home with DIY, however an expert has revealed some renovations may reduce the value of a property.

Paul Keighley who is Director at Bramleys in Huddersfield, shared a variety of interior design choices that have the potential to discourage potential house buyers.

The property expert explained people shopping for a family home will have different preferences to a couple or singleton.

Here, Paul reveals the things to consider before transforming your house…  

Paul Keighley who is Director at Bramleys in Huddersfield, revealed the interior design choices that can impact the value of your home (file image)

Paul Keighley who is Director at Bramleys in Huddersfield, revealed the interior design choices that can impact the value of your home (file image)

Paul Keighley who is Director at Bramleys in Huddersfield, revealed the interior design choices that can impact the value of your home (file image)

CONVERTING BEDROOMS

Paul explained that most house buyers want as many bedrooms as possible, therefore merging two small rooms into one large room or replacing a bedroom with a bathroom could have a negative impact.   

He said: ‘Generally, reducing the number of bedrooms in a property will have a detrimental effect on value and saleability. The top reason for moving to a new house is lack of space and wanting to upgrade to a bigger home – whether you are a first-time buyer that has outgrown your first property or are looking for somewhere that can accommodate your growing family.

‘Instead of removing space, it’s the creation of space that it helps to improve the value of your house. For example, the more bedrooms, loft conversions or extensions you implement, the higher the property value. It would be best if you took advice from a professional before undertaking any action.’

OVERLY EXPRESSIVE DECORATING 

Paul said that it’s best to opt for neutral and bold colours because clashing patterns and black curtains are off-putting.  

‘Many buyers want to put their stamp on a property; homeowners have recently implemented new interior design trends that are bold, graphic, and “social media-friendly.” However, a recent report by trades website Rated People, reveals potential house buyers find these popular trends can be serious turn-offs when it comes to purchasing a new home. 

‘Having a neutral, blank canvas always helps as deep dark colours always make marketing the house more difficult,’ he said. 

CONVERTING A GARAGE 

‘Converting a garage can seem like it would add value as you are increasing the size and use of the property, but at the same time, it can detract value by removing parking or storage space. We have found that parking and storage is always high on a buyer’s checklist. Besides, when converted garages still feel cold, narrow and never have the ‘homely feel’,’ said Paul

REMOVING CLOSETS  

Paul explained that removing closets to increase bedroom space also removes coveted storage space.  

He said: ‘When it comes to removing a large closet, this can devalue your home due to lack of storage space however if the closet was renovated and made into an ensuite, this could add value to the property and would be more valuable than a closet – providing the conversion is not poorly executed with lousy workmanship.’

LAVISH GARDEN FEATURES

Paul said potential house buyers may view swimming pools, hot tubs and ponds as an unnecessary extra expense because of the maintenance required. 

He added that families may consider lavish garden features as too dangerous for their children.  

‘A swimming pool can seem like a careful thought, but they come at an expense to install and maintain. Generally, people stop using them within a couple of months, so they don’t seem worth the cost.

‘Many potential buyers view swimming pools as dangerous, especially families with young children. They may love your home but may decline interest out of fear their child cannot be in their home safely, unsupervised,’ Paul said. 

Paul said lavish gardening features such as swimming pools can be viewed as too dangerous and expensive to maintain (file image)

Paul said lavish gardening features such as swimming pools can be viewed as too dangerous and expensive to maintain (file image)

Paul said lavish gardening features such as swimming pools can be viewed as too dangerous and expensive to maintain (file image)

GOING OPEN PLAN

Paul revealed going open plan can add value to your property, but it’s possible to do severe damage by knocking down the wrong internal walls that cause structural damage.    

Paul said: ‘Deciding to make your home open plan has the potential to add value to your property. With modern and contemporary style trends increasing, this means that larger, open, and well-lit spaces are becoming more desirable. Nonetheless, never take out any walls without taking the advice of a professional – if there is no in-depth analysis and plan of the structure of your property, this can become extremely dangerous. We also advise getting advice from a reputable agent as to whether it would detract from the value of your home beforehand.

Don’t forget, sound and smell pollution are two significant downsides to your open plan.’

TOO MANY PERSONAL TOUCHES  

‘Personalised rooms mean the buyer has more work to do to put it back to how they would want it. If you’re planning to sell or don’t see your current home as your ‘forever home’, it is essential to keep things neutral so that potential buyers can envision themselves living in the property and making it their own.

‘Greys, creams and whites are neutral colours that tend to work in any space. The palette is ideal and recommended for when you are trying to sell a home and are also crucial for exteriors, including doors and windows, as well as interiors, to make your house more ‘saleable’. The quality of your property needs to be not necessarily perfect but good to make a sale. Any significant investments in kitchens and bathrooms may make profits smaller.

‘If you do personalise, expect this to affect the saleability of your home slightly.’

Paul revealed a buyer is likely to want to renegotiate the sale price if they spot poorly installed gas and electric work (file image)

Paul revealed a buyer is likely to want to renegotiate the sale price if they spot poorly installed gas and electric work (file image)

Paul revealed a buyer is likely to want to renegotiate the sale price if they spot poorly installed gas and electric work (file image)

SHODDY FLOORING  

Paul said: ‘First impressions always count. If the flooring in your property is inferior, this reflects on the rest of the home. If something like the shabby, bad fitted carpet is noticeable straight away, buyers will make sure to keep a keen eye on all decor, inspecting the quality of work on the house, again leading to a list for renegotiating the sale price.’

INSTALLING EXPENSIVE KITCHEN APPLIANCES 

Paul continued: ‘Most buyers will bring their own anyway, can be costly but don’t add to your house’s value so will decrease profit margins.

‘In certain circumstances, this could enhance the sale of a property. However, each case would be individual.’

REPLACING A BATH

Paul said a bath is essential for attracting a young family, and it’s best not to replace a tub with a shower.  

DECORATING INCONSISTENTLY AROUND THE HOME

Decorating inconsistently around the home – can make it feel bitty, not a good look, need to renovate consistently around the home so there aren’t contrasting styles or some rooms worse than others

‘Like anything in your home, if the work is poor quality, it will affect the value of your property. Like a domino effect, once one little thing is noticed, the buyer will continue to pick at your decor, ready to renegotiate,’ Paul said. 

INSTALLING LAVISH LIGHT FITTINGS 

Paul added: ‘Furnish your home to your taste, but if you do fill it full of expensive fittings, you may not recoup the expenditure on sale. Buyers want to envision what the home will look like for them, and not for the seller. Injecting lavish light fittings to your personality is quite off-putting and doesn’t allow for the imagination of the buyers.’

ADDING TOO MUCH WALLPAPER

Paul explained that adding too much wallpaper can be overwhelming and difficult to remove.   

‘Wallpaper needs to be added as sparingly as possible; it then makes it easier for re-decoration in the future. Using a minimalistic approach such as paint rather than wallpaper can be a key to keeping neutral for a quick and profitable sale,’ he said.   

ADDING CERTAIN PLANTS TO THE GARDEN

Willow trees can affect drains and pipe, meanwhile oak trees can cause subsidence said Paul.   

He added: ‘Always take advice about tree planting as certain trees have a small root base, but others may stretch further than the height of the tree. This can cause cracked drains, roots breaking up driveways and ultimately can affect the foundations of the house and become a costly fix.’

Paul warned that it's important to have a clutter-free home when trying to sell, as the buyer will want to see the house rather than your belongings (file image)

Paul warned that it's important to have a clutter-free home when trying to sell, as the buyer will want to see the house rather than your belongings (file image)

Paul warned that it’s important to have a clutter-free home when trying to sell, as the buyer will want to see the house rather than your belongings (file image) 

INSTALLING FURNISHINGS THAT DATE EASILY

‘Try to keep any furnishing neutral if you can, this will reduce the chance of them dating too much. With a temperamental market, it is essential to factor in small neutral interior tweaks as that could mean the difference between a quick house sale or potential buyers being put off from purchasing.’

ADDING TOO MUCH TO YOUR HOME  

Paul said: ‘Keep your house as clutter-free as possible when trying to sell, the buyer needs to see the house, not your belongings. Decluttering is the quick and easiest way to achieve space which is essential as potential buyers will be looking for spacious rooms that they can fill with their furniture and personal items. If you look like you’re running out of space; this could be a significant turn-off.’

INSTALLING POOR QUALITY WINDOWS OR DOORS  

‘Any poor quality fittings will affect the saleability of your home, the same as poor DIY and bad workmanship would,’ he added.

INSTALLING QUIRKY TILING 

Paul advised against installing quirky tiling because it may be difficult to remove and many buyers will want to replace flooring.   

He said: ‘It is ideal to keep any tiling neutral and to a minimum, as it is expensive to alter when upgrading. If a potential buyer visits a property to find tiles in multiple rooms that they hate, they will think of the expense to remove and likely not make an offer on the property.’

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Cheating vicar is banned from preaching for life after admitting to an ‘inappropriate relationship’

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cheating vicar is banned from preaching for life after admitting to an inappropriate relationship

A cheating vicar has been banned from practising as a priest for life after admitting to a ‘close and inappropriate relationship’ with someone other than his wife. 

The Reverend Martin Baldock also admitted failing to protect a vulnerable adult.

Mr Baldock is now retired but served as Vicar of St Edward the Confessor Church in Dringhouses, York, from 2000 to 2017.

In addition to the church’s ‘penalty of prohibition’ from practising as a priest, Mr Baldock, who was also chaplain at both York College and St Leonard’s Hospice and was Rural Dean of York, has lost the honorary title of Canon of York.

The news of his behaviour will be a ’cause of real shock and distress at St Edward’s, and for others hurt by his actions too,’ said the Bishop of Selby, the Rt Revd Dr John Thomson.

The Reverend Martin Baldock admitted to a 'close and inappropriate relationship' with someone other than his wife, and also to failing to protect a vulnerable adult

The Reverend Martin Baldock admitted to a ‘close and inappropriate relationship’ with someone other than his wife, and also to failing to protect a vulnerable adult

‘This is deeply upsetting news for the Parish of Dringhouses, where Mr Baldock was held in respect and affection for 17 years, and where many members of the church and community trusted him with their deepest and sometimes their most sensitive feelings and experiences.

‘The Church of England expects the very highest standards of conduct from its clergy in both their personal and their professional relationships, and in this case those relationships have gone wrong.

‘The individuals most closely involved in this situation, and the people of Dringhouses Parish and at St Edwards are in my prayers, as they and their Vicar, Richard Carew, come to terms with this news while they work and pray to rebuild the community of love and trust that has always been at the heart of this parish.’

The Diocese of York said Mr Baldock, who now lived in retirement in the Midlands, had been subject to proceedings in 2019 under the Church of England’s Clergy Discipline Measure, and admitted two counts of misconduct while in his post in York.

Mr Baldock is now retired but served as Vicar of St Edward the Confessor Church in Dringhouses, York, from 2000 to 2017

Mr Baldock is now retired but served as Vicar of St Edward the Confessor Church in Dringhouses, York, from 2000 to 2017

The charges are that he was ‘conducting a close and inappropriate relationship with a person not his spouse over a sustained period’ and ‘failing to protect a vulnerable adult through not having due regard to the Church of England’s safeguarding regulations’.

The report read: ‘He accepted the penalty of prohibition from practising as a priest in the Church of England for life, imposed by the Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham, the Rt Revd Paul Williams.

‘The Diocese of York is not aware of any other issues concerning Martin Baldock’s years in Dringhouses – but anybody with any safeguarding concerns at this or any other church in the Diocese of York should contact the police, the relevant archdeacon or the Diocesan Safeguarding Team (safeguarding@yorkdiocese.org) as soon as possible.’

It added that he was conferred with the honorary title of Canon of York in 2017 before the concerns had been raised, and the title had now been withdrawn, and the diocese would be making no further comment to protect the identities of those involved.

The Bishop of Selby, the Rt Revd Dr John Thomson, said news of Mr Baldock's behaviour will be a 'cause of real shock and distress at St Edward's, and for others hurt by his actions too'

The Bishop of Selby, the Rt Revd Dr John Thomson, said news of Mr Baldock’s behaviour will be a ’cause of real shock and distress at St Edward’s, and for others hurt by his actions too’

When Mr Baldock retired in 2017, aged 65, the local paper, The Press, reported how he had left his church in great shape, with a refurbished church hall serving as a hub for Dringhouses and the congregation increased from 120 to 150.

Mr Baldock, who has been approached for comment, was brought up in Dunstable, Bedfordshire.

The son of a pharmacist, Mr Baldock was a chorister at the Priory Church and went on to study pharmacy at Nottingham Universtiy. 

He met his wife Sue at university and the pair moved to Zambia together where Martin worked as an administrator and pharmacist for three years.

According to his profile on the St Edward the Confessor Church website, it was while on a visit to a church in Zambia that Martin felt was ‘the first place he ever heard of a Jesus who was part of everyday life’.

He returned to Nottingham University to study theology and was ordained in 1985 at Wells Cathedral, starting his career in the church at a Nailsea near Bristol.

He also worked as the vicar of Brampton for 11 years, before becoming the vicar of St Edward’s in 2000, where he was appointed Rural Dean of York, a post he held from 2004 to 2012.

His ministry was successful enough to garner an honorary Canon of York Minster position in 2017, before he retired after 17 years at the parish.

He retired to Newham with his wife Sue.  

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Boris Johnson admits coronavirus outbreak could be doubling every 20 days

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boris johnson admits coronavirus outbreak could be doubling every 20 days

Coronavirus cases in the UK could be taking as long as 20 days to double in number, Boris Johnson admitted today as he rowed back from startling claims made by his top scientist only yesterday.

Sir Patrick Vallance warned the doubling time had dropped to just one week, during a televised address to the nation. And he made the terrifying prediction that the UK could be on course to hit 50,000 cases per day by mid-October, unless the outbreak is brought under control.

But Mr Johnson today appeared to distance himself from the pair, as he stood in front of the House of Commons to unveil a wave of new measures designed to stop the spread of the disease, including making the Army available to help police enforce stringent new coronavirus rules.

The Prime Minister, who warned ‘this is the moment when we must act’, told MPs the figure was – ambiguously – somewhere between one and three weeks. Sir Patrick didn’t confess the range could be up to twenty days yesterday, and at the peak of Britain’s first wave, the doubling time of cases was just three days.

Experts lashed out at the ‘implausible’ claim, insisting there was simply no scientific basis for the extraordinary number of infections Sir Patrick had warned about. The stark prediction saw the chief scientific adviser and his colleague, chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty , dubbed Professor Gloom and Dr Doom.

Data based on diagnosed cases now suggest the outbreak is taking two weeks to double, rising from an average of 1,022 infections a day on August 22 to 2,032 on September 7 to 3,929 yesterday. Spain and France, whose outbreaks the UK is feared to be on par with, have yet to get anywhere close to the dreaded 50,000 cases a day mark.

One expert, Professor David Paton, said data had been presented unfairly to the public and demanded: ‘If they’ve got an explanation [for why the data was presented like that], then let’s hear it.’ Other critics accused Number 10 of deliberately trying to ‘scare’ people and Piers Morgan urged No 10 to tell the British public how they arrived at 50,000.

It comes as the UK statistics regulator today revealed it has had to ‘step in’ seven times during the pandemic to alert Government departments to ‘transgressions’ when ministers have quoted data that is not then quickly made available to the public.

The head of the Office for Statistics Regulation described such incidents as ‘disappointing’ and said the principle of ensuring such data is published must be ‘more strongly embedded’. Giving an example, he said he had to contact the Department of Health when a figure for the distance people were travelling to get a Covid-19 test was quoted ‘quite widely in the public domain, but the underlying data weren’t available’. 

Experts threw cold water on the dramatic graph presented by Sir Patrick and Professor Whitty, saying it was 'implausible' that case numbers would outstrip France and Spain by so much

Experts threw cold water on the dramatic graph presented by Sir Patrick and Professor Whitty, saying it was ‘implausible’ that case numbers would outstrip France and Spain by so much

Prime Minister Boris Johnson today announced a tightening of lockdown rules, including a requirement for pubs and restaurants to shut at 10pm, which he said could last for another six months

Prime Minister Boris Johnson today announced a tightening of lockdown rules, including a requirement for pubs and restaurants to shut at 10pm, which he said could last for another six months

As he unveiled his raft of new measures today, Mr Johnson said in Parliament: ‘I’m sorry to say that as in Spain, France and many other countries we have reached a perilous turning point. 

‘A month ago, on average, around a thousand people across the UK were testing positive for coronavirus every day. The latest figure has almost quadrupled to 3,929. 

‘Yesterday the chief medical officer and chief scientific adviser warned that the doubling rate for new cases could be between seven and 20 days with the possibility of tens of thousands of new infections next month.’

The 3,929 figure the PM referred to is the average number of coronavirus cases diagnosed each day in the week leading up to yesterday, September 21. That has almost doubled from 2,032 on August 22, suggesting a doubling time of two weeks. 

However, testing is still only expected to be diagnosing around half of the true number of Covid-19 cases. The Office for National Statistics estimates that 6,000 people per day are catching the virus in England and Wales, a figure which almost doubled from September 3 to 10. But the estimate was before the ‘Rule of Six’ officially kicked in, meaning the measure could have helped to slow the speed at which the outbreak is growing. 

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The most recent published estimates of the epidemic doubling time – a measure of how fast cases are growing – put it at between seven and 17 days.

The REACT mass testing study, carried out by Imperial College London in conjunction with the Government, predicted on September 11 that it could be as fast as one week (7.7 days) based on test results from between August 22 and September 7.

Using longer term data from tests dating back to July 24, a more conservative estimate was made of a doubling time of 17 days – two-and-a-half weeks. 

Sir Patrick Vallance and Professor Chris Whitty, holding a one-off televised briefing together yesterday, warned the public about the worst case scenario.

The chief scientific adviser said: ‘If that [rise in cases] continues unabated and this grows, doubling every seven days, then what you see, of course, let’s say there were 5,000 today, it would be 10,000 next week, 20,000 the week after, 40,000 the week after, and you can see that by mid-October, if that continued, you would end up with something like 50,000 cases in the middle of October, per day.’

The doomsday prediction was met by outrage in the scientific community, with critics accusing the advisers of ‘scaring people’ and touting ‘implausible’ numbers.

Professor David Paton, an industrial economist at the University of Nottingham, said he was ‘shocked’ at the way the chief scientists presented infections data.

The number of people officially testing positive – now thought to be approximately half the number of true infections – has doubled once a fortnight over the past month

The number of people officially testing positive – now thought to be approximately half the number of true infections – has doubled once a fortnight over the past month

Sir Patrick stressed yesterday that his sobering scenario of 500,000 cases a day was based on a lot of unknowns. And he said it was 'not a prediction'

Sir Patrick stressed yesterday that his sobering scenario of 500,000 cases a day was based on a lot of unknowns. And he said it was ‘not a prediction’

NICOLA STURGEON BANS SCOTS FROM VISITING EACH OTHER IN THEIR OWN HOMES 

Scots will be banned from visiting each other in their own homes from tomorrow, Nicola Sturgeon said today as she reintroduced stringent lockdown rules.

The First Minister said that a ‘high proportion’ of new cases in the country were linked to transmission within private homes where social distancing and ventilation were more difficult than outdoors or public buildings.

She spoke to MSPs at Holyrood minutes after Boris Johnson has unveiled new lockdown measures in England, saying that his steps did not go far enough and her advice was that it ‘will not be sufficient to bring the R number down’ north of the border.

Addressing reports that measures in Scotland could be in place for up to six months, the First Minister said she hoped that would not be the case.

She told MSPs: ‘It is certainly the case, until scientific developments such as a vaccine change the game in the battle against Covid-19, it will have an impact on our lives.

‘That doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the new restrictions I am announcing today will be in place for six months.

‘By acting early and substantially, our hope is that these new measures will be in place for a shorter period than would be the case if we waited longer to act.’

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Reeling against yesterday’s presentation he said in a blog today: ‘Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance are eminent scientists and it is inconceivable that they did not know what they were doing in the briefing. 

‘On one level, they have accomplished their aim: the media is dutifully reporting the frightening ‘50,000 cases by 13th October’ figure and the groundwork has been prepared for the PM’s speech telling us what new restrictions he will be imposing on the country.

‘However, the price of politicising statistics is that you risk undermining public trust in government science.

‘If that is the long term effect of yesterday’s briefing, I wonder if Professor Whitty and Sir Patrick will continue to think it was a price worth paying.’

Professor Paton pointed out that top officials and politicians have warned that the UK is likely following what is happening in France and Spain.

Those nations have recorded a significant rise in daily infections in recent weeks, and hospitalisations and deaths have gone up alongside them.

But they are nowhere near 50,000 per day – with an average 11,105 cases per day in Spain and 10,116 in France.

‘Of course, no-one knows with absolute certainty what will happen to cases in the UK over the next few weeks,’ Professor Paton added.

‘Indicating the likely number of cases if the UK followed Spain or France would not have been an unreasonable approach for Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance to take. 

‘So why didn’t they? The obvious suspicion is that 7,000-10,000 cases per day by mid-October might just not have been scary enough for people to accept imminent new restrictions on their way of life.’

Professor Paul Hunter, a a medical expert at the University of East Anglia, said: ‘What they presented is the very worst possible case, given the state of the epidemic at the moment.

‘I think it is pretty implausible we will be seeing 50,000 cases a day by the middle of October. 

‘It’s important to bear in mind that they were not making a prediction, they were presenting an illustration of what would happen if cases continued to double, which they almost certainly will not.’

Professor Chris Whitty (right, with Sir Patrick Vallance on the left) appealed to the public’s selflessness in adhering to the rules and not just assuming they could 'take their own risks'

Professor Chris Whitty (right, with Sir Patrick Vallance on the left) appealed to the public’s selflessness in adhering to the rules and not just assuming they could ‘take their own risks’

STATS REGULATOR HAS HAD TO STEP IN SEVEN TIMES TO GET DATA PUBLISHED

The UK statistics regulator has had to ‘step in’ multiple times during the pandemic to alert Government departments to ‘transgressions’ when ministers have quoted data that is not then quickly made available to the public.

The head of the Office for Statistics Regulation described such incidents as ‘disappointing’ and said the principle of ensuring such data is published must be ‘more strongly embedded’.

Ed Humpherson, director general for regulation, said there has been a number of occasions on which he has had to intervene by contacting a department to tell them underlying data which is quoted by senior figures should be made available.

He told the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee: ‘We still find occasions where rightly, a minister from any one of the four administrations, a minister will answer a question using information that they have available to them and that’s quite appropriate and right.

‘Sometimes that information isn’t available publicly. And again that’s fine, if they know the answer to the question they should give the answer.

‘But we see that that is not then followed up by their departments making the data available publicly, and you’ll know chair that we’ve stepped in on seven occasions because I always copy you in to the interventions.’

Committee chairman William Wragg thanked him for ‘highlighting various transgressions’.

Mr Humpherson said it is mostly an issue of ‘awareness’ that figures need to be published once quoted, and that they ‘haven’t had very many repeat offenders’.

He told the MPs that it should be ‘a matter of course’ that the department makes the quoted information available, adding: ‘We will continue to intervene, but I’d much rather we didn’t have to.’

Giving an example, he said he had to contact the Department of Health and Social Care in England when a figure for the distance people were travelling to get a Covid-19 test was quoted ‘quite widely in the public domain, but the underlying data weren’t available’.

He also had to contact NHS Scotland and the Scottish Government when data on antibody testing had been quoted but was not available in the public domain.

In Northern Ireland he contacted health officials when the daily dashboard publication was suspended.

He said: ‘I wrote to the head of the Department of Health in Northern Ireland and said, you know, it’s not sufficient just to announce your numbers by Twitter, you need to put them out in a structured, orderly way.’

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The University of Buckingham’s Professor Karol Sikora, who has regularly been critical of the Government’s coronavirus response, said: ‘They’re so negative. The graph for the worst case scenario, for 50,000 cases a day by next month, it’s just scaring people.’

And Steve Brown, a self-employed consultant with 20 years of experience analysing statistical models, told MailOnline: ‘It’s a model. All models are wrong, but some are useful. Whether this one is useful depends on the purpose for which it was intended; if the purpose was to scare everyone, then it seems to have worked quite well, but if the purpose was to make an accurate prediction then less so.’ 

Mr Brown said it was possible advisers were ‘deliberately playing up the worst case’.

‘We know that SAGE is deliberately using personal fear to drive behaviour, that is documented in the minutes and is their policy,’ he said.

‘Although the graph presented by the Government advisors may not have been intended as a prediction, many people will understandably see it as such.’    

Dr Joshua Moon, a global health researcher at the University of Sussex, reiterated that the UK was taking action to avoid this ‘if nothing else was done’ projection.

He told MailOnline: ‘Spain and France actually did things to bring the rate of transmission down. The UK is doing more again to bring transmission down.

‘The trend is based on a standard epidemic curve which is exponential rather than linear so the calculation is based on the current doubling-rate rather than projecting it based on the current rate of case increase.

‘This is a more accurate depiction of how epidemics spread and the exponential growth of epidemics if they are left to their own devices.

‘In a no change scenario 50,000 cases per day is a somewhat realistic estimate. Do I think we will actually get to that? No. But there is a value in knowing the worst-case scenario.’

Piers Morgan, raging about the prediction on Good Morning Britain today, said: ‘If you want the headlines to be 50,000, that’s the figure you use, that’s what they did. 

‘But they haven’t explained, actually, what they’re basing it on given that in every other country nobody is projected to be anywhere near that by the middle of October. 

‘And that’s the problem. That the people who are sceptical about this, and don’t want any action, are saying ‘why have you reached that figure?’ And that’s what Boris Johnson has to answer – is to tell the British public why have we arrived at 50,000?’ 

It comes as the UK statistics regulator today spoke of having to get government departments to publish data they have quoted, saying the principle of ensuring such data is published must be ‘more strongly embedded’. 

Ed Humpherson, director general for regulation, said there has been a number of occasions on which he has had to intervene by contacting a department to tell them underlying data which is quoted by senior figures should be made available.

He told the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee: ‘We still find occasions where rightly, a minister from any one of the four administrations, a minister will answer a question using information that they have available to them and that’s quite appropriate and right.

‘Sometimes that information isn’t available publicly. And again that’s fine, if they know the answer to the question they should give the answer.

‘But we see that that is not then followed up by their departments making the data available publicly, and you’ll know chair that we’ve stepped in on seven occasions because I always copy you in to the interventions.’

Committee chairman William Wragg thanked him for ‘highlighting various transgressions’. Mr Humpherson said it is mostly an issue of ‘awareness’ that figures need to be published once quoted, and that they ‘haven’t had very many repeat offenders’.

He told the MPs that it should be ‘a matter of course’ that the department makes the quoted information available, adding: ‘We will continue to intervene, but I’d much rather we didn’t have to.’

Giving an example, he said he had to contact the Department of Health and Social Care in England when a figure for the distance people were travelling to get a Covid-19 test was quoted ‘quite widely in the public domain, but the underlying data weren’t available’.

He also had to contact NHS Scotland and the Scottish Government when data on antibody testing had been quoted but was not available in the public domain.

In Northern Ireland he contacted health officials when the daily dashboard publication was suspended.

He said: ‘I wrote to the head of the Department of Health in Northern Ireland and said, you know, it’s not sufficient just to announce your numbers by Twitter, you need to put them out in a structured, orderly way.’

Also before the committee was Professor Sir Ian Diamond, national statistician for the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

He said while there is a ‘rocky road’ ahead in the coming months there is ‘much better data’ now on coronavirus ‘so the Government has the information on which to make early decisions’.

Sir Ian said: ‘My view, very strongly, is that we are about to enter a rocky road but we have much better information than we had for the first wave on which to plot a route.’

He said as well as its household infection survey, the ONS also has surveys running in communal establishments such as care homes and prisons and will soon have some for schools and universities. He added that ‘it is not impossible that we will do airports and ports’.

Sir Ian was asked whether the increase in incident rate of coronavirus is nationwide and whether, therefore, measures are needed on a national basis.

He told the committee’s MPs: ‘One of the things that we are definitely seeing is that we, unlike some other European countries, do have a pandemic which is largely nationwide.’

He added: ‘My view is that at the moment we have a national – in England – largely national pandemic but one which is concentrated in urban areas.’

Asked about testing and tracing statistics which are published weekly, Mr Humpherson said they are ‘unquestionably more reliable, and they’ve improved out of all recognition’.

He added: ‘In fact, in some ways I now think that the test and trace information for England is more comprehensive than it is for Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland.’

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Bosses blast Boris over ‘unclear and inconsistent’ working from home guidance

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bosses blast boris over unclear and inconsistent working from home guidance

Business bosses today savaged Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he endorsed working from home as part of a series of strict coronavirus measures – warning it would be at the expense of the pandemic-ravaged economy.

Mr Johnson set out a raft of new restrictions in the face of rising Covid-19 infections, including the directive to avoid workplaces if possible.

But the new advice came just 21 days after he told his Cabinet ‘People are going back to the office in huge numbers across our country and quite right too’.

And it gave businesses less than 24 hours to work out whether they were coronavirus-secure enough to stay open, as well as wonder whether anyone would still turn up on Wednesday after the Prime Minister’s advice.

The restrictions also signalled a hammer blow to smaller businesses who relied on footfall from office workers to survive.

Mr Johnson’s switch from office to home working came as the economy was starting to show signs of recovery after Britain’s high streets had become ghost towns during lockdown.

The new measures also prompted an avalanche of calls between workers and bosses about whether they would still be in offices. 

Employment law expert Alicia Collinson told MailOnline: ‘I think there will be a lot of conversations like that tonight and tomorrow.’ 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been condemned for mixed messages and advice

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been condemned for mixed messages and advice

The British Chambers of Commerce said before the announcement that ‘Unclear and inconsistent guidance on day-to-day working life will sap business and consumer confidence at a delicate moment for the economy’.

After the PM gave his speech to the commons BCC Director General Adam Marshall added: ‘Businesses understand that further restrictions are necessary to tackle the rising number of Coronavirus cases, but these measures will impact business and consumer confidence at a delicate time for the economy.

‘Businesses, their employees and customers need to see a clear road map for the existing restrictions and those that may be introduced in the future.

‘This must include transparent trigger points, and clarity about the support available to protect jobs and livelihoods.

‘The government should waste no time in setting out a comprehensive support package for firms forced to close or reduce capacity through no fault of their own.’

The measures announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson come amid mounting fears of mass unemployment when the furlough scheme for workers ends next month.

In London there had been many office blocks completely deserted during the pandemic

In London there had been many office blocks completely deserted during the pandemic

Business hubs, including Canary Wharf pictured, were like ghost towns with no workers

Business hubs, including Canary Wharf pictured, were like ghost towns with no workers

Businesses were also warned by Mr Johnson that they face fines of £10,000 and could be closed if they breach new Covid-19 regulations.

Ray Berg, managing partner of law firm Osborne Clarke, told the Financial Times it had planned to get a quarter of staff back in but was not sure whether it still would continue.

He added: ‘In the City, I felt we were approaching something like critical mass which was enabling restaurants and shops to open.

‘Confidence was returning and revenue has been up quite sharply compared to the spring/summer.

‘This feels like a kick in the teeth in some ways but we will follow what the government advises.’

Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the CBI, said: “A second national lockdown would be devastating for our economy, so it’s right to prioritise bringing infections under control.

The U-turn came as many officer staff had started returning to work after strict lockdown

The U-turn came as many officer staff had started returning to work after strict lockdown

“But there can be no avoiding the crushing blow new measures bring for thousands of firms, particularly in city centres and for our hospitality sector employing over four million people.

“It is vital that all announcements of restrictions go hand in hand with clarity on the business support that protects jobs.”

Should I stay or should I go? What is the law on working from home?

Office workers and bosses could be locked in talks about working from home – amid fears some staff could refuse to go in or stay home.

Alicia Collinson, solicitor at Leeds employment specialists Thrive Law, said the rules were different from the last strict lockdown. 

She told MailOnline: ‘What we saw last time was specifically the Government work at home when you can.

‘We advise employees to speak to employers. If it’s possible the employee disagrees but actually their boss says they can still come in, to not do so would be failure to follow reasonable management instructions.

‘It won’t be like last time when people weren’t able to leave their homes. The economy needs to keep going and with furlough stopping it’s about people keeping their jobs.

‘If someone said they weren’t going in because Boris Johnson said it was better to work from home, the employer would have to explain why this wasn’t possible. It is not actually law for us to be at home.

‘I think there will be a lot of conversations like this tonight and tomorrow. The use of the word ‘possible’ means that the employer decides if it is possible.’ 

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Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said small firms and the self-employed will be “dismayed” at another six months of restrictions.

He said: “Many businesses – particularly those at the heart of our night-time economy and events industries – are now seriously fearing for their futures.

“Having lost the summer, a lot of them would’ve been pinning their hopes to increased trade in the run-up to Christmas. Their plans are now in disarray.”

He added: “Some of those who’ve taken on emergency finance will be finding that the initial injection of funds will not be enough to keep them afloat for another two quarters.”

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) said the new rules could be a “fatal blow” to many pubs, cafes and their suppliers and made a plea for targeted support for the sector once furlough ends.

Dorset Chamber chief executive Ian Girling said the country was at a critical point in the fight against coronavirus.

He added: ‘Some hospitality businesses will undoubtedly be disappointed and the guidance on homeworking is a major change just when employees were returning to the office.

‘We must not hide away from the fact that a return to homeworking will not be easy for some employers and employees. 

‘Some roles are suited to homeworking while others are not. There is productivity to consider, and it may be problematic from a HR management perspective as well as for those people who do not have ideal homeworking conditions.

‘Many businesses have already carried out a huge amount of work to make their offices Covid-safe and now face implementing fresh working practices.

‘There will be an economic impact from the new measures but the Government is in a high-stakes balancing act and a full national lockdown is the very last thing anyone wants.’

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