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U.K. cabinet to meet after Britain, EU reach draft Brexit deal

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Negotiators from Britain and the European Union have struck a proposed divorce deal that will be presented to politicians on both sides for approval, officials in London and Brussels said Tuesday.

After a year and a half of stalled talks, false starts and setbacks, negotiators agreed on proposals to resolve the main outstanding issue: the Irish border.

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s office said the cabinet would hold a special meeting Wednesday to consider the proposal. Its support isn’t guaranteed: May is under pressure from pro-Brexit ministers not to make further concessions to the EU.

Ambassadors from the 27 other EU countries are also due to hold a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday.

May told the cabinet earlier Tuesday that “a small number” of issues remain to be resolved in divorce negotiations with the European Union, while her deputy, David Lidington, said the two sides are “almost within touching distance” of a Brexit deal.

Britain wants to seal a deal this fall, so that Parliament has time to vote on it before the U.K. leaves the bloc on March 29. The European Parliament also has to approve any agreement.

Negotiators had been meeting late into the night in Brussels in a bid to close the remaining gaps.

Irish border at issue

The main obstacle has long been how to ensure there are no customs posts or other checks along the border between the U.K.’s Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland after Brexit.

Irish national broadcaster RTE said the draft agreement involves a common customs arrangement for the U.K. and the EU, to eliminate the need for border checks.

But May faces pressure from pro-Brexit cabinet members not to agree to an arrangement that binds Britain to EU trade rules indefinitely.

Protesters participating in an anti-Brexit demonstration march through central London on Oct. 20. (Henry Nicholls/Reuters)

May also faces growing opposition from pro-EU lawmakers, who say her proposed Brexit deal is worse than the status quo and the British public should get a new vote on whether to leave or to stay.

If there is no agreement soon, U.K. businesses will have to start implementing contingency plans for a “no-deal” Brexit — steps that could include cutting jobs, stockpiling goods and relocating production and services outside Britain.

Even with such measures in place, the British government says leaving the EU without a deal could cause major economic disruption, with gridlock at ports and disruption to supplies of foods, goods and medicines.

Disruptions feared

On Tuesday, the European Commission published a sheaf of notices outlining changes in a host of areas in the event of a no-deal Brexit. They point to major disruption for people and businesses:

  • U.K. truckers’ licences won’t be valid in the EU.
  • British airlines will no longer enjoy traffic rights.
  • Even British mineral water will cease to be recognized as such by the EU.

The EU said Tuesday it was proposing visa-free travel for U.K. citizens on short trips, even if there is no deal — but only if Britain reciprocates.

“We need to prepare for all options,” EU Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said. On a deal, he said: “We are not there yet.”

Meanwhile, official figures suggest Brexit is already having an impact on the British workforce.

The Office for National Statistics said the number of EU citizens working in the country — 2.25 million— was down 132,000 in the three months to September from the year before. That’s the largest annual fall since comparable records began in 1997.

Most of the fall is due to fewer workers from eight eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004.

Jonathan Portes, professor of economics at King’s College London, said the prospect of Brexit “has clearly made the U.K. a much less attractive place for Europeans to live and work.”

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The cost of renovating your bathroom in Toronto in 2021

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Home renovations can be a big task, especially bathroom renovations where you have to work with either an awkwardly shaped space, or one with lots of pipework and very little natural light.

Nonetheless, getting a bathroom renovation by Easy Renovation to change your existing bathroom layout, improve the ambience or add more natural skylights can be worth all the trouble. But determining how much a bathroom renovation would cost is important while setting a budget.

The pandemic has changed a lot of things with social distancing rules, working from home, and for some, being made redundant. Therefore, having a complete grasp of the financial implication of a bathroom innovation is very important.

Owning your dream bathroom can be made a reality and the good thing is, regardless of your financial situation, there are always available options. If you also decide to put up your property for sale in the future, a bathroom upgrade would be a great investment—as it would add significant value to the property. Your bathroom renovation project, like every home renovation, can either be very affordable or extravagant, but one thing is certain, you’re bound to have a more refreshed, stylish and modernistic space.  

Looking through detailed sketches of luxurious and expensive bathrooms can be quite tempting, especially when you’re on a budget. However, your bathroom can be equally transformed into something that looks just as modern, stylish and refreshing but without the heavy price tag.

Conducting a partial bathroom renovation means you only have to change a little part of your existing bathroom rather than tearing it down and starting from scratch. If you intend to carry out this type of bathroom renovation in Toronto, depending on the size of your bathroom, you can spend between $1,000 – $5,000. With a partial bathroom renovation, you can save money by tackling smaller problems that exist in your present bathroom—or you can just upgrade a few of its features.

Partial bathroom renovations are quite affordable and would leave your bathroom feeling new and stylish without being time-consuming or a financial burden—which is important considering the economic impact of the pandemic. Repainting the bathroom walls, replacing the tiles on the floor and in the shower area are examples of partial bathroom renovations which is the cheapest to accomplish.

A more expensive and popular bathroom renovation is the standard 3- or 4-piece renovation. This renovation type involves a lot more services that are not covered by a partial renovation budget. To execute a standard bathroom renovation in Toronto you need a budget of about $10,000 – $15,000.

Unlike with a partial renovation, you would have to make a lot more changes to various elements of your bathroom without the hassle of changing the overall design. You can easily restore your current bathroom into a modernistic and classy space that fits your existing style. Making changes to more aspects of your bathroom is quite easy since there is more room in your budget to accommodate it.

A standard 3- or 4-piece renovation includes everything in a partial renovation plus extras such as revamped baseboards, installing a new bathroom mirror, buying new lights, installing a new vanity, changing the toilet, and buying new shower fixtures.

If you’re one of those looking to make a complete overhaul of your existing bathroom, then the option of a complete bathroom remodel is for you.

Unlike a bathroom renovation, remodelling means a complete change of your current bathroom design and layout for one that is newer and completely unrecognizable. The possibilities when remodelling a bathroom are endless especially when you have a large budget of over $15,000. That way, you can get the opportunity to create the perfect bathroom for yourself.

In addition to all that’s available with a standard bathroom renovation, bathroom remodelling allows you to make bathtub to shower conversion, relocation of plumbing, relocation of the toilet, reframing the bathroom and even relocating the shower.

In conclusion, a bathroom renovation can be a very important upgrade to your home and depending on the features that you decide to include, in addition to the size of your bathroom, this would influence the total cost of the project.

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7 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers In Calgary

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Buying a house for the first time can be overwhelming to say the least. If you’re wondering what neighbourhood to go with, what you can afford, or even how to just get started on the process, let us take some stress off your hands! We’ve teamed up with Hopewell Residential to give you 7 tips to ensure the home you end up with is everything you dreamed of.

Hopewell Residential is a five-time Developer of the Year award winner, so their expertise is second-to-none in Calgary and beyond. Who better to learn home-buying tips from than the homebuilders themselves?

Create a checklist of needs & wants

This is a biggie. When you’re buying your very first home, you’ll want to weigh your needs vs. your wants. Ensuring you have what you love in your first home is a big, big deal.

What should you do? Easy. Set up a list of needs and a list of wants, but be pretty strict with yourself, and make sure you take your lifestyle into consideration. With the increase in remote work over the past year, it’s important to keep in mind that a home office or flex room might just be the key to maximizing at home happiness. Especially if you’re thinking you might be expanding your family later on, spare rooms and extra space is key (but more on that later!).

Or for instance, you might need a home in an area with a high walkability score, but you want to be close to certain amenities. Set yourself up with the right level of compromise and the number of homes that actually fit your ‘perfect’ idea will skyrocket.

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‘Don’t give up’: Ottawa Valley realtors share statistics, tips for homebuyers in ‘extreme’ sellers market

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The real estate market in the Ottawa Valley can be summed up this way: people from far and wide are in a buying frenzy, but there’s hardly anything to buy at the “store,” and the limited inventory is overpriced.

This “stampede” — as one realtor described it — will affect rural towns as residents grapple with finding affordable housing and agonize over their inability to purchase homes in their price range.

“We are seeing a lack of inventory in all price ranges,” said Laura Keller, a real estate agent from Carleton Place.

Helen Vincent, a Renfrew realtor, said she’s never seen a market like this in her 36 years of practice. “We postpone offers for four to five days in order to get all the buyers,” she said.

Multiple offers — between seven and 10 — became the norm, with cash offers and no conditions, as buyers faced bidding wars. “In Ottawa, they have up to 50 (offers),” she added.

“It’s very stressful. You’re going to get nine (people) ticked off, and one happy. So many people are disappointed,” Vincent said.

Terry Stavenow, an Arnprior realtor for 40 years, said that “the pent-up need took over with inventory going low. It made a stampede on everything that was available.“

“Brand new housing — it’s very much gone. Several building developers are rushing to get inventory. They usually don’t do construction in the winter months,” said Stavenow.

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