For some reason, my Sky Digibox isn't working at the moment. I can get the menu but a message tells me there is no satellite connection. So I missed last night's episode of FlashForward. A bit of a bugger but I can catch up later if I get a connection...
Instead I watched Capital on French tele's M6. It's one of the few programmes I like watching because it gives some good information on a variety of topics. Yesterday they were talking about improving the insulation on houses which has become big business due to the increase in fuel prices. Many companies have jumped on the bandwaggon and offer a complete service ranging from replacing windows, insulating the roof and walls, and installing the right heating system.
It's incredibly expensive though. One retired couple with a fairly large old house (210m²) were presented with an estimate of 210,000Eur to completely renovate the house. Horrific!
One of the selling points that sales reps ram down the throats of prospective customers is the magic 'credit impot' which is a tax rebate on some of the money spent. What people don't know, however, is how it works, and much fury has been engendered by people discovering too late that they didn't get as much as they were promised by the slimy rep.
To start with, you'll only get money back if you use a professional to install the equipment. BUT you only get a rebate on the cost of the equipment, not the installation. Also, the Fisc (French tax office) will only give a rebate up to a maximum of 8000Eur, or 16000Eur for a couple. The couple paying out 210K would not get any more than one paying out 20K. The level of rebate is not the same for all types of equipment, so while a pompe à chaleur (heat pump?) gets 50%, insulation material is rebated at 25%.
There are all sorts of other conditions too, so if you live and pay your taxes in France and want to insulate your house, check up on the French government tax site (then Les crédits d'impôt pour dépenses d'équipements dans la résidence principale) to find out exactly what you're entitled to.
I'm not sure how people are going to be able to pay such astronomic prices though, unless the government implements some sort of equity release programme like the UK. My parents benefited from that and their house is now as snug as a bug. Of course, the sum paid will be taken off when the house is sold, but if they have to go into a care home, that'll eat up anything that's over anyway.
I think children these days should renounce on the prospect of inheriting their parent's home. By the time the care home has fleeced them dry, there'll be either nothing left, or no more tuppence ha'penny of which the government will take most in death duties.
Admit it guys, we're on our own, and if you need your parent's money to get somewhere aged 50+, let's face it, you're a loser.