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Four in five voters do not trust DUP over NI Protocol, survey suggests

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Four in every five voters in the North do not trust the Democratic Unionist Party over the Northern Ireland Protocol, a new survey suggests.

The poll results will concern incoming party leader Jeffrey Donaldson, as further findings signal the controversial post-Brexit arrangement will weigh heavy on the electorate’s minds at the next elections to the Stormont Assembly.

Mr Donaldson is to be formally ratified as party leader when the DUP’s ruling executive meets on Wednesday.

Pollsters LucidTalk, commissioned by researchers at Queen’s University Belfast, asked a weighted sample of 1,500 respondents from the electorate who they trusted and distrusted to manage the interests of the North when it comes to the Protocol.

There was least faith in Boris Johnson’s UK government, with 86 per cent of voters saying they distrust London, 53 per cent of them saying they distrusted Downing Street “a lot”. Only 6 per cent trusted the administration.

The next least trusted group was the DUP, with 56 per cent distrusting them “a lot” and another 22 per cent responding that they simply didn’t trust the party over the Protocol. Just 13 per cent trusted the party.

A majority of voters (56 per cent) also distrust Sinn Féin over the issue — with 45 per cent registering “a lot” of distrust. Nearly a third (31 per cent) trusts the party.

Alliance Party (43 per cent) and the Social Democratic and Labour Party (42 per cent) were the most trusted parties, although both parties registered the same levels of distrust among the electorate.

Almost four in ten (39 per cent) distrust the Ulster Unionist Party. Giving new party leader Doug Beattie food for thought, almost the same proportion again have yet to make up their mind on whether or not they trust the party.

Distrust of the European Commission/EU was at 48 per cent, while 40 per cent said they trusted Brussels. Voters responded similarly over the Irish government’s role, with 48 per cent registering distrust against 38 per cent who trust Dublin.

Only business leaders (56 per cent) recorded majority trust among respondents.

Worryingly for some of the political parties in the North, given the high levels of distrust in them, the poll found three-quarters of voters will be mindful of the Protocol when casting their ballots in the next election.

Four in ten said they would switch allegiance over the issue.

Professor Katy Hayward, of Queen’s University Belfast and co-investigator on the research, said the findings show people in the North “highly exercised” by the Protocol — both for and against in equal proportions.

“The political tensions are compounded by the low levels of trust in the political parties when it comes to the Protocol, and by the fact that the Protocol is likely to feature heavily in the next Assembly election,” she said.

The findings show a majority believe special arrangements are needed for the North in the wake of Brexit, but there is a clear split on whether people support or object to the Protocol, with 47 per cent backing it, and the same number opposing.

Despite the split, a majority (56 per cent) agrees that it hands the North a unique set of economic opportunities.

Chief concerns are the cost of certain products, choice of goods as well as checks and inspections on goods moving between Britain and the North.

Most of those surveyed (57 per cent) want the UK to align with EU regulations as a solution.

Just 38 per cent favoured shifting checks and inspections to the Border.

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Homes near Elizabeth Line see asking prices double in a decade

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Asking prices for properties for sale near stations on London‘s new Elizabeth Line have more than doubled in a decade, new research has revealed.

Many areas near stations on the capital’s new high-speed line were previously less well connected to key commuter hubs, such as Liverpool Street or Paddington stations.

But they have seen a surge in property asking prices amid new interest from homebuyers and tenants due to the better transport links that the Elizabeth Line provides.

REVEALED: The asking price hotspots around the new Elizabeth Line stations

REVEALED: The asking price hotspots around the new Elizabeth Line stations

Elizabeth Line hotspots: This two-bed flat in London's Windmill lane is o.2 miles from Maryland station and is for sale for £395,000 via Filtons estate agents

Elizabeth Line hotspots: This two-bed flat in London’s Windmill lane is o.2 miles from Maryland station and is for sale for £395,000 via Filtons estate agents

The new figures from Rightmove revealed the extent to which asking prices have risen in local areas around Maryland, Abbey Wood and Stratford stations.

Maryland Station in Newham, which provides an additional option for those commuting near well-connected Stratford, has seen the biggest jump in asking prices.

They have more than doubled compared to ten years ago, rising 108 per cent from £233,480 to £486,235.

This compares to the London average increase over the past ten years of 55 per cent.

About half a mile from Abbey Wood station is this two-bed flat for sale for £235,000 via Your Move estate agents

About half a mile from Abbey Wood station is this two-bed flat for sale for £235,000 via Your Move estate agents

Rightmove has identified the asking price hotspots around the new Elizabeth Line stations

Rightmove has identified the asking price hotspots around the new Elizabeth Line stations

Meanwhile, Rightmove revealed that total buyer demand has risen the most in western areas, while prices and competition has risen most in eastern areas.

Twyford, at the end of the western section of the line and the next stop along from Reading, has seen the biggest jump in the number of buyers contracting estate agents.

Numbers have more than tripled compared to 10 years ago, up 245 per cent.

Those looking to buy near Abbey Wood station, at the end of the South East section of the line, face the stiffest competition from other buyers.

Competition in that area has soared more than nine times and is up 869 per cent.

Rightmove has identified buyer demand hotspots around the new Elizabeth Line stations

Rightmove has identified buyer demand hotspots around the new Elizabeth Line stations

The increase in buyer competition compared to ten years ago around the new Elizabeth Line has been revealed

The increase in buyer competition compared to ten years ago around the new Elizabeth Line has been revealed

Near Custom House station: This two-bed house is for rent for £1,700 a month via Outlook lettings agents

Near Custom House station: This two-bed house is for rent for £1,700 a month via Outlook lettings agents

The rental hotspots along the new Elizabeth Line station have been revealed

The rental hotspots along the new Elizabeth Line station have been revealed

It is a similar story along the Elizabeth line for tenants as many look to balance their commute into London with where they can afford to rent.

Average rents in London have reached a new record of £2,195 a month, up 14 per cent compared to this time last year.

Southall has seen the biggest increase in the number of tenants contacting letting agents compared to ten years ago, more than quadrupling, up 372 per cent.

However, asking rents near Southall station are lower than nearby Hanwell or Ealing.

Asking rents have increased the most in western stations Slough, up 44 per cent, and Burnham, up 43 per cent, while those looking to rent near Custom House station face the most competition from other tenants.

Slough is among the asking rent hotspots along the new Elizabeth Line stations, with the average asking rent up 44 per cent during the past ten years

Slough is among the asking rent hotspots along the new Elizabeth Line stations, with the average asking rent up 44 per cent during the past ten years

One of the new stations built for the Elizabeth Line - Custom House - has seen competition increase 3270 per cent compared to ten years ago

One of the new stations built for the Elizabeth Line – Custom House – has seen competition increase 3270 per cent compared to ten years ago

Custom House, one of the new stations built for the Elizabeth Line and benefitting from significantly lower travel times into Central London, has seen competition increase by a staggering 33 times, up 3270 per cent compared to ten years ago.

Tim Bannister, of Rightmove, said: ‘As the Elizabeth Line opens, it does so with a backdrop of record rents in London, a rising cost of living and a shortage of available homes.

‘Areas further out from central London that have lower asking prices or rents, but are now more easily commutable will be attractive to new buyers and tenants in search of somewhere affordable to live near the capital.

‘Not only this, but new working from home patterns since the pandemic started two years ago will have many people weighing up whether they are prepared to commute from further away if they need to do so less often.’

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National Maternity Hospital decision is a welcome sign of the Government’s backbone

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The Government’s decision to proceed with the building of the new National Maternity Hospital is a welcome sign that the Taoiseach and his Ministers are willing to face up to the Opposition, the social media mob and assorted objectors on an issue of major national importance.

One of the weaknesses of the Coalition since it took office in June 2020 has been a tendency to run scared in the face of contrived outrage, usually fomented by a combination of Opposition politicians and vested interests, often mistakenly portrayed as representing public opinion.

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URW rolls out Westfield brand to three new destinations

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Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) unveiled plans to rebrand three flagship centres, rolling out the Westfield brand to Parquesur in Madrid, Taby Centrum in Stockholm, and Galeria Mokotow in Warsaw this fall. The rebranding continues the expansion of the Westfield brand in Europe as the company drives new revenues through media advertising and brand experiences, turning its huge footfall of 550 million visits across its European assets into a qualified audience, while also leveraging the Westfield brand’s significant value to retailers, who see over 20%2 higher sales at URW’s centres even when compared to other A-category malls.

 

The flagship destinations share a number of characteristics in addition to being among the most important retail centres in their respective markets: they are set in excellent locations with unrivalled transport options, have distinctive architectural and design features and a best-in-class approach in terms of customer experience, community engagement, and sustainability practices. To celebrate the launch of the Westfield brand at these assets, each destination will host festive consumer events which will be announced later this year.

 

Caroline Puechoultres, Chief Customer Officer of URW, said: “The rebranding of these centres continues our strategy to expand Westfield to Flagship European destinations in the wealthiest cities and catchment areas. The significant opportunity afforded to both retailers and brands by this increasingly digitally linked network of destinations is unparalleled – through Westfield our partners can reach tens of millions of European consumers, driving new possibilities in advertising, brand marketing and retail.”

 

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