Big Bathroom Brands at Down to Earth Prices : Bathroom Planet

Bathroom Planet is at the forefront of the bathroom industry

Working alongside the top brands in the sector, we bring you the best products at down to earth prices. On top of all that, our customer support is second to none and our friendly team of experts are always happy to give advice on what’s best for your bathroom.

Burlington and Bayswater produce the highest quality traditional and Victorian style bathroom products. If you’re looking to recreate a period style bathroom with the reliability and functionality of modern technology and materials, you’ve come to the right place. These two outstanding brands produce stunning vanity units and basins with washstands which can really finish off the look of a Victorian bathroom.

For a sleek and minimalistic look, Roca and Vitra offer the best porcelain and brassware options for any modern bathroom. Roca is world-renowned for producing the best porcelain used in toilets and bathroom basins.

Here at Bathroom Planet, we can cater to your needs and requirements, whether you simply need a soap basket and toilet roll holder, or if you’re looking for an entirely new bathroom. Our team of experts has a vast range of knowledge in designing and fitting bathrooms, so you are in safe hands with us. Come to us for advice on the best walk in showers, bath and sink combinations, as well as shower fittings and how to get a stunning shower enclosure.

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How Much Does a Bathroom Remodel Cost? See 2020 Avg Prices

Before you hire a professional to remodel your bathroom, ask them these seven crucial questions first:

1. Can I see examples of your past bathroom remodeling work?

Read your contractor’s reviews. Comb for details on their punctuality, communication skills, work environment cleanliness and work quality. But if you see negative reviews, don’t dismiss the pro right away. Look at how they respond: if they show strong communication and conflict-resolution skills, they may still be a good fit.

Make sure you also ask for a portfolio of their past work, especially if you have a specialty project in mind. On Thumbtack, you can look at photos of previous work for bathroom remodeling contractors before you hire them.

2. Do you take on bathroom remodeling projects of my scope?

Some contractors specialize in certain kinds of projects. For example, one contractor may do bathroom additions and master bath renovations, while another focuses specifically on small bathroom remodels. Ask this question upfront to save everyone the time and effort of a site visit.

Also, if you need bathroom design services, make sure to ask if your contractor has design training. If not, consider hiring an architect or designer in addition to your bathroom remodeler.

3. How many projects do you run at the same time?

You want a company that has time for you and has long-term relationships with its subcontractors. Make sure you and your contractor have the same expectations about how often they will be onsite once the remodel or renovation kicks off. The contractor should be open with you about how long each stage of the project will take, and they should show a good understanding of what factors could potentially push that timeline out.

4. Who will be working in my home?

Many general contractors serve as the business head and hire foremen to run projects. Ask to meet the project manager and make sure it’s someone you want at your house every day. Depending on the elements of your bathroom remodeling project, your contractor will probably bring in more specialists.

This is a good thing in most cases — you want a specialist for things like drywall, painting, and retiling. But make sure you ask exactly what will be subcontracted out and get background information on those subcontractors.

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5. Are you bonded, licensed and insured?

Any contractor or subcontractor who works on your house should be bonded, licensed, and insured properly according to state and local standards. Insurance can help protect you if your home gets damaged during construction or workers are hurt on site, while hiring a bonded contractor can help protect you if the contractor fails to pay workers, doesn’t pay for permits, or doesn’t finish the work. Here’s more on how to do your research.

6. What permits does my renovation or remodel need and will you get them?

If a contractor isn’t willing to get the permits, it may be a sign they’re not licensed. You may need permits to make

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Falling House Prices? Not if Boris Johnson Can Help it

House prices are defying economic gravity in much of the world. Central banks have cut interest rates and governments have turned on the spending taps to keep people in their jobs — and their homes. The U.K. cranked things up even more by temporarily cutting home-purchase taxes, known as stamp duty. After lockdown, a bigger home and garden is a priority for many of us.

There’s a problem, though. First-time buyers are locked out of the U.K. market because they can’t afford a mortgage. Lenders withdrew high loan-to-value deals when the pandemic began, forcing borrowers to find much larger deposits. That may be impossible unless parents can help. This exacerbates an already cavernous divide between the young, stuck in crummy rental accommodation, and the old, who are often their landlords. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s solution, announced this week, is to offer “young first-time buyers the chance to take out a long-term fixed-rate mortgage of up to 95% of the value of the home, vastly reducing the size of the deposit.”

The proposal addresses a peculiarity in U.K. housing. Traditionally Brits haven’t embraced long, fixed-rate mortgages. If there’s ever a time to change that mindset, it’s now. It’s tempting to take advantage of rock-bottom interest rates to help the young, and to get banks to play their part.

Unfortunately, there’s a strong chance that Johnson’s proposal will simply blow more air into Britain’s house price bubble, while piling risk onto the finance industry. Conservative-led governments have long propped up housing demand without creating enough supply, making values outlandishly disconnected to most people’s salaries.

The U.K. already has home-purchase subsidies, known as Help to Buy (which should really be called “Help for Homebuilders”). Coupled with stamp-duty cuts, expanding credit to would-be homeowners will surely just make prices soar again, putting the ownership dream further out of reach. And why does Johnson think lending to more to cash-poor buyers is a sound financial idea? Mortgage lenders tend to have a better grasp of risk versus reward, and no one knows how bad the pandemic recession is going to be.

Buyers who put down only a small deposit risk being trapped in negative equity if house prices decline. That’s precisely what banks fear will happen when the government winds down Covid-19 support measures. Johnson hasn’t spelled out details such as the precise duration of the new mortgages or whether the taxpayer will be on the hook for any loan losses.

Banks are already struggling to make money because of low interest rates and they’re facing pandemic-induced corporate loan losses. The last thing they need is a wave of mortgage defaults to add to their woes. 

It’s especially confusing to be told to lend more when regulators, including the Bank of England, want lenders to do the opposite.

At least borrowers wouldn’t have to worry about interest rates rising if they locked in to a long fixed-rate mortgage. Negative equity isn’t such a worry if you don’t have to repay for another 25 years. Yet

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U.K. House Prices Jump Most Since 2016 in Post-Lockdown Boom

(Bloomberg) — U.K. house prices rose at their strongest annual pace since 2016 last month as Britons’ changing work patterns and a tax reduction on purchases fanned a resurgence.



a small town: UK House Prices See Monthly Fall in May Since 2009


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UK House Prices See Monthly Fall in May Since 2009

Average house prices rose 7.3% in September from a year earlier to a record average of 249,870 pounds ($323,000), mortgage lender Halifax said Wednesday. On the month alone, prices gained 1.6%.

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Since the lockdown started to be eased in May, a wave of buyers have sought to sell up in urban areas such as London to move to places with bigger yards and more green space.

They’ve been helped by a temporary tax break on home purchases that will expire next year. Prime Minister Boris Johnson signaled more support for the market this week, with a promise of more generous home loans for millions of young first-time buyers.

Real estate agents and economists are unsure how long the upswing can last. Rising unemployment, risk aversion among lenders and a potential resurgence of the virus mean the market may lose momentum in the next few months.

“The release of pent up demand and indeed the stamp duty holiday can only be temporary fillips,” said Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax. “Significant downward pressure on house prices should be expected at some point in the months ahead as the realities of an economic recession are felt ever more keenly.”

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High drug prices driven by profits, House committee reports find

Enormous drug company profits are the primary driver of soaring prescription drug prices in America, according to a damning investigation that Democrats on the House Oversight Committee began releasing Wednesday.

The first two reports in the investigation focus on Celgene and Bristol Myers Squibb’s Revlimid cancer treatment, the price of which has been raised 23 times since 2005, and Teva’s multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone, which has risen in price 27 times since 2007.

The costs have little to do with research and development or industry efforts to help people afford medication, as drug companies often claim, according to the inquiry.

“It’s true many of these pharmaceutical industries have come up with lifesaving and pain-relieving medications, but they’re killing us with the prices they charge,” Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., said as the hearings began Wednesday. He added, “Uninhibited pricing power has transformed America’s pain into pharma’s profit.”

The top Republican on the committee, James Comer of Kentucky, called the investigation a partisan attack. “These hearings seem designed simply to vilify and publicly shame pharmaceutical company executives,” Comer said.

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Much of the drug industry’s profits come at the expense of taxpayers and the Medicare program, say the reports, which say that they are used to pay generous executive bonuses and that they are guarded by aggressive lobbying and efforts to block competition, regulation or systemic change in the United States while the rest of the world pays less.

“The drug companies are bringing in tens of billions of dollars in revenues, making astronomical profits, and rewarding their executives with lavish compensation packages — all without any apparent limit on what they can charge,” committee chair Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., wrote in a letter attached to the first two staff reports.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., a former chair of the committee who died last October, launched the investigation more than a year ago. It has produced more than a million documents. CEOs of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Celgene and Bristol Myers Squibb were testifying Wednesday.

Officials of Amgen, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals and Novartis were scheduled to appear Thursday.

Celgene CEO Mark Alles verified the accuracy of the documents obtained by the committee but stuck with the standard explanation that the company’s pricing is entirely aboveboard and merited.

“The pricing decisions for our medicines were guided by a set of long-held principles that reflected our commitment to patient access, the value of a medicine to patients in the health care system, the continuous efforts to discover new medicines and new uses for existing medicines and the need for financial flexibility,” Alles said. He said that in 2018, Celgene “committed to full pricing transparency by limiting price increases to no more than once per year,” pegged to national health expenditures projected by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Teva CEO Kåre Schultz declined to address specific questions about much of the report, saying he took over only in 2017, in part to repair a company suffering after

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High drug prices driven by profits, House panel report finds

Enormous drug company profits are the primary driver of soaring prescription drug prices in America, according to a damning investigation that Democrats on the House Oversight Committee began releasing Wednesday.



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The first two reports in the investigation focus on Celgene and Bristol Myers Squibb’s Revlimid cancer treatment, which saw its price hiked 23 times since 2005, and Teva’s multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone, which went up in price 27 times since 2007.

Those costs have little to do with research and development or industry efforts to help people afford medication, as drug companies often claim, according to the probe.

“It’s true, many of these pharmaceutical industries have come up with lifesaving and pain-relieving medications, but they’re killing us with the prices they charge,” said Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) as the hearings began Wednesday. He added that “uninhibited pricing power has transformed America’s pain into pharma’s profit.”

The top Republican on the committee, Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, called the investigation a partisan attack. “These hearings seem designed simply to vilify and publicly shame pharmaceutical company executives,” Comer said.

Much of the drug industry’s profits come at the expense of taxpayers and the Medicare program, are used to pay generous executive bonuses and are guarded by aggressive lobbying and efforts to block competition, regulation or systemic change in the United States while the rest of the world pays less, the reports say.

“The drug companies are bringing in tens of billions of dollars in revenues, making astronomical profits, and rewarding their executives with lavish compensation packages — all without any apparent limit on what they can charge,” committee chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) wrote in a letter attached to the first two staff reports.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the former committee chairperson who died last October, had launched the probe more than a year ago. It has since produced more than a million documents. CEOs of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Celgene and Bristol Myers Squibb were testifying Wednesday.

Amgen, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals and Novartis were scheduled to appear Thursday.

Celgene CEO Mark Alles verified the accuracy of the documents obtained by the committee but stuck with the standard explanations that the company’s pricing is entirely aboveboard and merited.

“The pricing decisions for our medicines were guided by a set of long-held principles that reflected our commitment to patient access, the value of a medicine to patients in the health care system, the continuous efforts to discover new medicines and new uses for existing medicines and the need for financial flexibility,” Alles said. He said that in 2018 Celgene “committed to full pricing transparency by limiting price increases to no more than once per year,” pegged to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ projected national health expenditures.

Teva CEO Kåre Schultz demurred from addressing specific questions about much of the report, saying he took over only in 2017, in part to repair a company suffering after its Copaxone patent finally expired.

He also sounded the familiar refrain that prices

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House panel says drugmakers inflated prices to boost profits and reap bonuses

The Democrat-led reports come just weeks before Election Day, and amid efforts by President Donald Trump to show progress on slashing drug costs, one of his 2016 campaign promises.

Neither company immediately responded to requests for comment.

Highlights: Celgene raised the price of cancer medicine Revlimid 22 times since it launched in 2005, more than tripling its price. Those hikes were not necessarily linked with rising costs or innovation: In 2014, for instance, former CEO Mark Alles ordered an emergency price increase so Celgene could meet its quarterly revenue targets.

“I have to consider every legitimate opportunity available to us to improve our Q1 performance,” Alles wrote in an email. He appears before the committee Wednesday along with Bristol CEO Giovanni Caforio.

Bristol continued with another increase after buying Celgene last year. Revlimid now costs more than $16,000 a month.

The panel’s report also details tactics that Teva Pharmaceuticals used to ward off competition, such as introducing new formulations of multiple sclerosis medicine Copaxone and contracting with payers to limit generic substitutions for the blockbuster medicine.

Teva has raised Copaxone’s price 27 times since its launch in 1997, inflating its cost from $10,000 then to nearly $70,000 today. Bonuses for Teva workers soared as well — the committee reports that “lower level employees were aware of the direct link between their compensation and Copaxone’s price and revenue.”

Teva CEO Kåre Schultz testifies for the pharmaceutical company on Sept. 30.

The panel said that other costs, such as rebates that drugmakers pay to pharmacy benefit managers, do not account for the consistently rising drug prices. Manufacturers typically point to these rebates — used to ensure products’ places on insurer formularies — to justify price hikes because a chunk of the cost goes to those payer discounts.

Heart of the pricing debate: Democrats have long pushed for Medicare to directly negotiate prices with drugmakers, a stance that President Donald Trump also took on the 2016 campaign trail. The committee argues that companies are “taking full advantage” of Medicare’s inability under federal law to negotiate.

While Trump abandoned the negotiation plan in office, he has tried and largely failed to advance other measures to cut drug costs. The president this summer announced an ambitious plan to link Medicare payments to lower costs paid abroad — an approach the industry vehemently opposes.

What’s next: Robert Bradway, CEO of Amgen; Mark Trudeau, CEO of Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals; and Thomas Kendris, U.S. president of Novartis, testify on Oct. 1.

Amgen makes Enbrel — one of the world’s best-selling autoimmune drugs — and Sensipar, a kidney failure treatment. Both are blockbuster medicines that have seen significant price increases over the past two decades.

Mallinckrodt sells H.P. Acthar Gel, a decades-old inflammation drug that the manufacturer acquired in 2014 after the previous owner, Questcor, raised its price from $40 to $31,000 per vial. Mallinckrodt continues to raise the price.

Novartis manufactures Gleevec, a cancer medicine that saw prices rise more than 395 percent in roughly 15 years.

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UK house prices rise at fastest rate since 2016, says Nationwide | Money

House prices rose in September at the fastest annual rate since the aftermath of the Brexit vote in 2016, according to the UK’s biggest building society, as buyers continued to take advantage of a benign market despite the coronavirus pandemic.

The average UK house price rose by 5% in September compared with the same month last year, to £226,129 – a record high, Nationwide reported.

The pandemic has shaken up the housing market, with the return of demand after the UK-wide lockdown and temporary cuts to stamp duty helping to sustain sales even as economists forecast a significant increase in unemployment over the coming quarter.

Prices rose by 0.9% month on month in September after jumping by 2% in the previous month as housing market activity surged, Nationwide said. Separate data published on Tuesday by the Bank of England showed that mortgage approvals during August had risen to the highest level in almost 13 years and the rival mortgage lender Halifax also reported record high UK prices in August.

Price jumps were evident across the UK, with the south-west of England and the commuter towns surrounding London recording increases of more than 5% in the third quarter of 2020 compared with a year earlier. Only in Scotland and the north-west of England did the pace of annual growth slow during the quarter.

Average prices within London hit a record high of £480,857 in September, leaving them 57% above their 2007 levels, shortly before the global financial crisis.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said: “The rebound [in UK prices] reflects a number of factors. Pent-up demand is coming through, with decisions taken to move before lockdown now progressing.

“The stamp duty holiday is adding to momentum by bringing purchases forward. Behavioural shifts may also be boosting activity as people reassess their housing needs and preferences as a result of life in lockdown.”

However, some economists predict that the boom in house prices may run out of steam in the coming months as the government’s support for the job market diminishes significantly, and unemployment is expected to hit 8% by the end of the year, according to independent forecasts collated by the Treasury.

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The stamp duty holiday for properties below £500,000 will also expire on 31 March 2021, unless the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, chooses to extend it in a delayed budget.

One economic forecaster, the EY Item Club, suggests that house prices could be about 5% lower than now by mid-2021 as the economy worsens.

Hansen Lu, an economist at Capital Economics, a consultancy, said: “Price gains are likely to slow as the pent-up demand driving the market now is expended. Looking ahead, we think a weak underlying economy and the end of the stamp duty cut will slow house price growth to a standstill by the end of 2021.”

The “mini boom” in house prices may partly reflect the shift to working from home during

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UK property prices rise at fast rate in 4 years in September

Estate agents property for sale boards on display outside a residential property in north London. Photo: Dinendra Haria / SOPA Images/Sipa USA
Estate agents property for sale boards on display outside a residential property in north London. Photo: Dinendra Haria / SOPA Images/Sipa USA

UK house prices are surging at their fastest rate in four years, as pent up demand post-lockdown and a temporary Stamp Duty cut fuel a buying boom.

Nationwide’s closely-watched House Price Index found prices jumped by 5% on an annual basis in September, the biggest increase since September 2016.

Prices grew by 0.9% between August and September. Both the annual growth figure and the month-on-month growth were ahead of City forecasts.

The average UK house price now stands at £226,129 ($288,167), Nationwide said.

Watch: Why house prices are rising despite COVID-19 and a recession in the UK

“The rebound reflects a number of factors,” said Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s Chief Economist.

“Pent-up demand is coming through, with decisions taken to move before lockdown now progressing. The stamp duty holiday is adding to momentum by bringing purchases forward. Behavioural shifts may also be boosting activity as people reassess their housing needs and preferences as a result of life in lockdown.”

Gardner said the pandemic was encouraging people to move. Lockdowns and working from home have spurred many people to look for new properties with more space and a garden, with less concern about commuting distance.

READ MORE: UK mortgage approvals hit highest level since 2007

25% of people surveyed by Nationwide in London said they were moving as a result of the lockdown, while another 15% of residents in the capital were thinking about moving.

All regions of the UK saw house prices grow between July and September. The highest growth was in the South West of England, where annual price growth was 5.5%.

Nationwide’s price data comes a day after the Bank of England said mortgage approvals hit a 13-year high in August, underlining the strength of the property boom.

Experts believe the property market could loose steam in the coming months as the government’s economic support measures unwind.

“Most forecasters expect labour market conditions to weaken significantly in the quarters ahead as tighter restrictions dampen economic activity and the furlough scheme winds down,” said Gardener.

“While the recently announced jobs support scheme will provide some assistance, it is not as comprehensive as the furlough scheme it replaces.”

Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said: “We continue to expect the official measure of prices to peak in October, and then to reverse all of its gains since March over the following 12 months.”

Estate agents Hamptons expects house prices to fall across much of the UK next year.

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U.K. House Prices Post Biggest Annual Increase Since 2016

(Bloomberg) — U.K. house prices posted their biggest annual gain since 2016 in September as a tax cut fueled a post-lockdown demand to move.

Values climbed 5% from a year earlier to an average of 226,129 pounds ($290,000), Nationwide Building Society said Wednesday. The report comes a day after Bank of England data showed mortgage approvals have hit a 13-year high.



chart: U.K. house prices up most since 2016


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U.K. house prices up most since 2016

The strong housing market contrasts with other parts of the economy, which are still struggling to recover from the coronavirus disruption as the U.K. government reimposes some restrictions on movement and leisure.

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On Wednesday, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation found private-sector confidence subdued and many firms reducing pay. Lloyds Bank said its measure of business sentiment improved in September but remained well below the long-term average.

There was also a warning for Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak about a surge in insolvencies unless the government extends measures designed to shield firms struggling amid the virus crisis.

The Institute of Directors made its plea on the day that the suspension of wrongful trading rules is due to come to an end. That emergency decision protected firms that may be facing a short-term hit from the virus from being forced to file for bankruptcy.

The relative outperformance of the housing market is in large part due to a government decision to suspend a tax on home purchases until the end of March as part of it stimulus package for the economy. Many analysts say the property boom will probably peter out after a few months as unemployment rises and aid packages come to an end.

For now, real estate is benefiting from pent-up demand following the lockdown, as well as a desire for bigger properties as people work from home more regularly.

“Housing market activity has recovered strongly,” said Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist. “The stamp duty holiday is adding to momentum by bringing purchases forward. Behavioral shifts may also be boosting activity as people reassess their housing needs.”

(Updates with insolvencies, business confidence)

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