Reality Check: Would Brexit create a DIY recession?

George Osborne

George Osborne

The claim: Leaving the European Union would create a year-long recession.

Reality Check verdict: The Treasury analysis gives two scenarios, described as “shock” and “severe shock”. Both point to a recession in the short term, but in the case of the lesser “shock” scenario, while there would be an impact on the economy, the predicted recession would be very mild and well within the bounds of forecasting uncertainty.

The Treasury has released its analysis of the short-term effects of a vote to leave the European Union – that’s what would happen in the two years after 23 June.

And it’s not pretty – the Treasury predicts that economic growth would decline, wages would be lower than if we’d stayed in and house prices would fall.

If you’re prepared to be influenced by economic modelling (read our Reality Check on the subject here) then there is a simple message, which is that in the first two years, a vote to leave the EU would be a considerably bad thing for the economy.

If you want to go a bit further into the figures, there is more to say.

The Treasury no longer does economic forecasts – that job has now been given to the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

What the Treasury is doing is what it calls scenario analysis, which is taking what would happen if we stayed in the EU as a base-line and then considering what the impact would be were we to leave.

So all the figures you see today are not how much worse things would be than they are today. They are how much worse things will be in two years if we leave the EU, than they would have been if we stayed in.
‘That’s a recession’

The Treasury has modelled two scenarios, the “shock” and the “severe shock” scenarios.

The shock scenario is what it reckons would happen if the country decided to negotiate a bilateral agreement to cover its relationship with the EU. The severe shock scenario is what would happen if we decided to trade as just another World Trade Organisation member, with no special relationship with the EU.

The Chancellor said in his speech: “Within two years the size of our economy – our GDP – would be at least 3% smaller as a result of leaving the EU – and it could be as much as 6% smaller.”

“We’d have a year of negative growth – that’s a recession.”

But that doesn’t mean it will be smaller than it is now, it means it will be smaller than it would have been had we stayed in.

If you compare that with the OBR’s forecast for what will happen to the economy over the next couple of years (assuming we stay in) it turns out that under the shock scenario, in the first four quarters after the vote to leave, the economy would contract by 0.1% every quarter.

A recession is when you get at least two consecutive quarters (three month periods) in which the economy gets smaller. So that would be a recession, but not by very much. It would be well within the degree of uncertainty surrounding this sort of economic analysis.

Under the severe shock scenario, the expected contraction would be much more severe: – 1% in the first quarter and -0.4% in the following three quarters, before registering negligible growth in the following year.

The same may be done with other predictions in the report.

For example, the Treasury predicts house prices in two years would be between 10% and 18% lower than they would be if we had stayed in. The OBR forecasts house prices will rise by about 10% over that period, so if you put those predictions together for the two scenarios you get prices being either flat or falling by 8%.

Full article on the BBC here.

Dunelm’s profits are up

The group has reported continued delivery across all three areas of the growth strategy including
·  In-store like-for-like growth of 1.0% (52 week basis);
·  23.2% growth in home delivery sales (52 week basis), now accounting for 7.0% of total revenue (FY15: 6.1%);
·  Six new openings in the year (including two relocations), increasing footprint to 152 superstores; nine new stores contractually committed.

The housewares retailer also reports progress on eight key initiatives to support the growth strategy and to build a world class operating model in a low cost environment:
· It has opened a new warehouse in Stoke, doubling capacity and providing cost reduction opportunities
· It has improved productivity within stores to reinvest into helping customers, improving service, driving sales and to mitigate the cost of introducing the National Living Wage
· It has also reduced stock holding by £16.5m (12.4%) through improved retail disciplines

The group reported strong free cashflow, up 26.9% to £110.4m; a special distribution during the period of 31.5p per share (£63.8m.
A recommended final dividend of 19.1p per share (FY15: 16.0p), increasing the full year dividend to 25.1p (FY15: 21.5p), an increase of 16.7% for the full year

John Browett, chief executive, commented:”The business has performed well over the year. Shoppers tell us that they genuinely appreciate the unrivalled depth and value of the Dunelm homewares offer. This has meant we have further cemented our leading position through market share gains, driving sales and profits growth, and increasing returns to shareholders, including a 16.7% increase in total ordinary dividends and a special distribution of 31.5p per share.

“My first year as chief executive has been extremely busy and we’re working hard on initiatives across the business. Not least, we are investing in our stores to make them much easier to shop, whilst making sure our vast range of product maintains the value for money proposition which lies at the very heart of the Dunelm offer.

“We remain particularly focused on extending the Dunelm offer to more customers and have opened six new superstores in the year. This will be ramped up in the current year with nine planned openings, three of which are in the London area where we are excited by the clear opportunity for growth.

“We continue to outperform the homewares market, and despite potential challenges to the economy over the coming months and the dampening effect on footfall of recent hot weather, we believe that Dunelm’s competitive position can come into its own, and are confident of continuing to deliver our growth ambitions.” – See more at:

Full article here.


Use Discount Codes for DIY

Use Discount Codes for DIY

Many of us hope to achieve the all American Dream: Get married, own a dream home, have kids, settle down. While many of these are easily attainable, sometimes life can get in the way and complicate things sometimes, especially after you have children.

Typically, once kids come around, things like home repairs and updates can get ignored. The truth is, updating simple things like light fixtures, installing fans, adding a fresh coat of paint, etc. can add a ton of value to your home, but they do cost money.

While some of these seem like they can be pricey (and to be honest, they can) there are simple ways to achieve some of these without going broke. We have all heard of “Do it Yourself” thanks to TV shows like HGTV and TV moguls like Martha Stewart, but sometimes DIY can scare some people. Truthfully, it shouldn’t. With the rise of sites like Pinterest to guide us and discounted sites like Curry’s via Groupon Discount Codes, you can achieve your dream home with less money than you think,

Every day we experiment with new home projects or ways to keep our kids busy, but did you know that DIY has its advantages with homes as well? You will be surprised by what you can do with a few mason jars and tree branches.

Utilize things you already have. Don’t run to the nearest home improvement store. Instead, look for things laying around your house that can be transformed into something else. Take a old ladder, paint it, and hang it horizontally across your wall as a new shelf.

Find local service providers. Not only will you support a small business, but chances are, their prices will be much better (or they will have greater negotiation ability) than a large chain. Shop around, too. If you don’t like the price of something, ask someone else.

Your Home Takes Centre Court With These Wimbledon Wallpaper Murals

Fifteen Love

Fifteen Love

Wimbledon Wallpaper Murals

It doesn’t matter if you’re simply a novice or a seasoned pro; this exclusive collection of original Wimbledon inspired wallpaper is sure to serve up a grand slam whilst delivering unique design and bold colour. The fun yet refined designs provide any tennis fan’s home with high impact décor.

The wallpaper murals, which are designed and sold by Murals Wallpaper, utilise cutting edge digital printing techniques and one of a kind graphic design. The prints can then simply be hung just like normal wallpaper.

Your Home Takes Centre Court

The team at Murals Wallpaper combined vivid colours and clean court-side inspired lines – with the addition of some tennis lingo – to create a unique collection which remains fun yet highly sophisticated. Paying homage to Britain’s most famous tennis tournament has never been so stylish.

Game Point

Game Point

Product Details

Wallpapers are available at:

All prints are custom-sized, made-to-order and priced at £23.50 ($35) per square metre with international shipping available.

The Benefits of Underfloor Heating!

Benefits of underfloor heating

Underfloor heating is widely used in northern Europe and has in recent years become quite popular in the UK, both for new builds and for updating existing property. There are many companies which offer underfloor heating supplies.

There are low maintenance costs, and the technology rarely needs any form of maintenance once it has been fitted. Many radiators require regular servicing with tending to leaking pipes, faulty seals, air in the pipes which can be extremely noisy and will need draining and eliminating the trapped air.

It is extremely efficient than old fashioned radiators, and consequently more cost effective in regards to utility bills. It has been proven that energy saving from 15-40% can be achieved with underfloor heating.

Studies show that installing radiant heating in your home can reduce the amount of dust mites present by up to 80%!

Radiators take up space and aren’t ever going to win any prizes for their aesthetic qualities. Dust can accumulate behind them and they are awkward to paint.

With a good UFH control system it is easy to save money by keeping temperatures low or even off, in rooms that are rarely used while key living areas are kept as warm as you like. Normal radiators can be tricky to turn off and often that energy is wasted in rooms which you are not using.

A lack of central heating knocks an average of 9 percent off a property’s value which, in turn, means that if you add underfloor heating to your home it will add considrable value.
Not only will it be more eco friendly it will also save you costs in the long run!

Looking to Sell Your Home? Home Improvements vs Home Repairs

Home Repairs

Home Repairs

Anyone looking to sell their home is undoubtedly looking to get the best asking price possible. As a result, altogether too many homeowners spend a great deal of money on home improvements. However, many of those improvements don’t actually add any real value to the home and could very well be a huge waste of time and money. Before selling your home and doing all kinds of unnecessary (and costly!) work, it is in your best interest to know the very real difference between home improvements vs home repairs.

Home Repairs Are Necessary

There is no getting around the fact that some home repairs are absolutely necessary before listing your home for sale. For instance, does your roof leak? If so, get it repaired if it is new enough to have several years of life yet but if it is nearing the 20 year mark, the usual lifespan of a roof, then it is better to find a good deal on a reroofing job. Is all the plumbing in good order and are all the doors and windows intact and weatherised? If so, you may be ready to sell your home.

Some Home Improvements Add Value

Then there is the overambitious homeowner who wants to add value to the home in order to mark the asking price up by thousands. This may be a grave error in judgement as only some improvements will add any real value after the cost involved in making and paying for those improvements. Some homes are in neighbourhoods that don’t have outdoor pools, for example, so to add one on your back lawn would most likely not add any real value because your home is valued based on a number of factors amongst which is the price other homes in your area sold for in recent times.

Merging Home Repairs with Home Improvements

Here is something to think about. When your home needs a home repair and an improvement over what is currently installed would add value, you may wish to consider an upgrade. One good example is that roof mentioned above. Perhaps you’d consider adding energy efficient roofing material that helps you maintain climate control within the home. Or perhaps you’d like to add a loft conversion at the same time to give your home greater living space. If you need repairs in order to list your home for sale, take a little extra time to see if you can improve upon the functionality or the appeal which, in turn, will add value. This is a wonderful way to make a bit of extra money whilst offering a home that would sell much quicker!

If you are looking to sell your home, then, remember that there is a very real difference between repairs and improvements. Don’t make unnecessary improvements that won’t add value as it would be a huge waste of money. On the other hand, the best option is to make improvements whilst doing repairs because those very well could add value and ultimately what you will get upon closing the sale. That’s what you’re after so give it some thought.

Making home improvements? Look at the bigger picture

House Extension

House Extension

How do you prioritise your home improvement ideas? Often it comes down to the simple matter of finances so make a list of the home improvement projects you’d like to tackle, do your research into the associated costs and then you can look at your budget.

They are plenty of options for making your property look more aesthetically appealing without having to invest in major renovation work. Start by making a ‘snagging list’ of things that need repairing or improving around your home. If you are making home improvements with a view to selling your property, ensuring everything is in good working order and there is a fresh lick of paint, can help to attract potential buyers.

So once you’ve made your list, where do you start? This depends very much on whether you’re handy yourself or dread DIY and avoid it at all costs. Maybe you’re a dab hand with a paintbrush, but your joinery skills leave a lot to be desired. Preparation is key to getting home improvements right, so plan your project out and assign tasks. Recognise your skills and know your limitations. It can be far more cost effective to call on the services of a professional than it can to bodge a job that you weren’t properly prepared for and then have to go to the trouble and expense to put it right.

Work out your budget so you know how much you have for materials and what you can afford to pay tradespeople to come in to undertake the work you aren’t confident you can do. Get recommendations from friends and family as to reliable and competent tradespeople and remember to get several quotes to ensure you are getting value for money – it might be worth paying a bit more to ensure the work is carried out to a high standard than to be tempted by a cheaper quotation. Getting a few quotes should give you an accurate idea of what sort of price you should be paying.

When it comes to more major home improvements like conservatories, garden landscaping and extensions you need to do your research to ensure that the money you pay for the work is worth it in terms of the value it will add to your property. The best place to start is by looking at what other homeowners in your area have done to their houses. There will be a ceiling price for properties on your street so there is no point adding a huge extension to create a luxury house if the perceived value exceeds what people are willing to pay for properties in your area.

Your home improvement projects will also be influenced by the motivating factors for the work – if you are making improvements on your forever home then you won’t be as concerned with added value as you will if you are improving your property with a view to selling up and moving on.

So, before you embark on any DIY task or major home improvements make sure you look at the bigger picture of exactly what you are setting out to do and what you can afford to spend to achieve your vision. Ready to put your DIY skills to the test? Take our fun interactive quiz to see whether you’re up to the job or need to call a professional.

TrigJig: Building Trade First for Precision Skirting and Coving

TrigJig Coving Side View

TrigJig Coving Side View

An innovative new construction tool aimed at producing perfect mitres for skirting boards and coving is set to get building tradesmen and DIY enthusiasts climbing the walls with delight.

The TrigJig is a digital tool which measures, calculate and guide cuts. There are two versions – one specially adapted for skirting boards and the over to cut perfect coving. The gadgets save tradespeople hours of labour time and hundreds of pounds in ruined building materials. This is because they’re simple to use and extremely time efficient, completing any mitre  in less than a minute. The devices will also help tradesmen/women and seasoned DIY’ers cut and fit perfect cornices and crown molding every time.

The smart, rust-proof, stainless steel gadgets sit easily into the palm of a hand, are simple to use and guaranteed to benefit both professional and amateur builders alike. They are fully adjustable and can measure both internal and external angles.

The device has a magnetic sensor which is accurate to within 0.1cm, an extra large LCD  screen, quick release cam locks and a smooth magnetic cutting guide. It measures 200mm (length) x 60mm (height) and 26mm (width) with a total weight of 0.6kg.

Nothing similar has ever been introduced to the DIY and construction market before. A recent crowd funding campaign saw the innovative hand tools raise £125,000 in a week.

Director of HICI Ltd and creator of TrigJig Dan Soanes-Brown first recognised a niche in the market whilst working as a plasterer for more than seven years. First-hand he experienced numerous problems when it came to fitting skirting boards and coving, particularly in older homes where angles weren’t always 90 degrees. The result was guess work and frustration at times.

“You’ll find that the older a house, the more varied the measurements become and the longer it takes to get them right,” he said. “Bay windows in particular tend to cause huge problems and, of course, buildings move over time resulting in corners with awkward angles and uneven lines.

“As a builder it ends up putting hours on your day and then there’s the additional material you have to purchase when you inevitably get the measurements wrong. In the end it’s the client who ends up paying for all this.”

Soanes-Brown believed there had to be a better way of solving the problem. Following months of research he came up with the concept of the TrigJig. He is delighted with the final result – and so are his former colleagues in the building trade.

He added: “I know a lot of joiners who are already very excited about this. It’s the coving and skirting equivalent to using a spirit level to measure a straight wall.

“It’s actually taken me around two years to perfect, from design to manufacture. I wanted to ensure not only that the TrigJig did what it said it would but that it was tough enough not to break down mid-job.”

The tools will be available to pre-order from April and will be on the shelves on 2 May. They retail at £99.99 and are guaranteed for three years. Find out more at

Homebase bought by Australia’s Wesfarmers for £340m



The BBC recently reported that UK DIY chain Homebase has been sold by its owner Home Retail Group to Australian retail giant Wesfarmers for £340m (A$705m; $485.2m).

Wesfarmers already owns Bunnings – one of Australia’s largest suppliers of outdoor living and DIY products.

The 265 UK Homebase sites will be rebranded under the Bunnings banner over the next three to five years.

Wesfarmers said it would spend a further £500m on upgrading the UK stores.

The deal is expected to be wrapped up in the first three months of this year provided shareholders of Home Retail Group agree to the purchase.

Wesfarmers, which owns one of Australia’s biggest supermarket chains, Coles, has estimated that the UK’s home improvement and garden market is worth £38bn. The market leader is Kingfisher’s B&Q chain.

Shining A Spotlight On LED Worklights

Amtech LED Lights

Amtech LED Lights

Do you have an on-going project in your garage? Perhaps a classic car that needs tinkering with every weekend, or a much-loved family car that requires TLC on a regular basis? If your evenings and weekends are spent under the bonnet or crawling underneath your vehicle of choice, you’ll need some effective lighting to see what you’re up to!

This is where SMD LED (Surface Mount Diode) and COB LED (Circuit on Board) lighting comes into it’s own. If you’re still using that ancient incandescent filament bulb* that’s been hanging in the garage for the last decade (incidentally these bulbs were phased out in 2012), it’s time for a replacement.

SMD LED Lighting Solutions For The Mechanic

Even if you’ve invested in some LED bulbs you may be surprised at the difference a dedicated SMD LED worklight can make. What’s the big deal with SMD LED we hear you ask? Well this technology really packs a punch when you need a bright, consistent light to illuminate a large area.

Many traditional LED worklights are great for general use and for creating a spotlight on the DIY project or task you have in hand. However, the standard LEDs epoxy enclosure tends to focus the beam so it casts light directly on the area in front with a drop off of light around it.

For situations where you require a bright, consistent light (for example underneath the chassis of your mark 1 convertible), SMD LED worklights are much more effective. Furthermore they give off almost no heat so you won’t find yourself feeling uncomfortably hot when working in close proximity to one, and there’s no risk of a burn if you bump up against it.

SMD LED also has a lower power consumption that a normal LED light so you can spend as much time under the bonnet as you like without impacting adversely on your energy bills!

A Versatile Solution to Lighting

A Versatile Solution to Lighting

COB LEDs Worklights

For those people who would like a worklight or torch that creates a lighting panel effect, COB LEDs are the answer. Multi LED COB chips are packaged together to form one lighting module, as opposed to SMD’s that are segmented into numerous tiny pieces of semi-conductor crystals and are directly placed over a substrate.

As with SMD LEDs, COB LEDs are popular for their heat efficient behaviour. They ensure minimum heat production and emit homogeneous light. The behaviour is enhanced with the addition of a ceramic substrate, which induces a cooling effect in addition to the homogeneous light production.

Both types of LED offer a superior level of lighting for the mechanic, DIYer, caravan owner or camper and come in a range of lighting products such as torches and penlights, as well as LED worklights.

If you plan to spend time in your garage this winter, check out our lighting range to ensure you can see exactly what you are doing!

* LED Bulbs use up to 90% less energy than an incandescent or halogen bulb of equivalent brightness. LEDs are far more efficient at converting electricity, measured in watts, into light, measured in lumens. As such, a typical 4 watt LED bulb can easily achieve a light output comparable to a 50 watt halogen, sometimes higher due to its high lumen to watt ratio.