Unlike buying a car or new kitchen, the hard pressed commuter of today is often paying for improvements that will be enjoyed years from now. When upgrades do arrive, the benefits are often taken up in the form of catering for increased demand.
It hasn't been admitted publicly - but it looks like the Tories' war on lone parents has resumed. Lone parents won't forget the way in which they were demonised by previous Conservative governments - Peter Lilley's "little list", John Redwood's notorious visit to the St Mellons estate in Wales - and a host of policies that left lone parents struggling in poverty to bring up children on their own.
today's re-launch didn't tell us a huge amount. We were promised action on childcare support, support for first-time buyers and, yet again, greater investment in infrastructure... But detail remains largely absent, with more to be dripped out between now and the Budget in April.
As governments down the years have discovered, welfare is a political minefield. Most people think they pay more into the government’s welfare pot through taxes than they draw out in benefits.
George Osborne has conjured up an image of lazy unemployed people enjoying comfortable lives whilst other (decent) people get up early to go out to work. This feeds into the same theme in some parts of the media about lazy unemployed people but is far from the reality.
Please do not be so naive as to believe that in decriminalising certain drugs you will be able to regulate them. All it will do is endorse the market place and generate growth in the drug industry, creating opportunity for low cost and black market goods, synthetic evolutions and copies.
In rejecting Leveson's minimalist but essential proposal on statute David Cameron has divided his coalition and party while letting down the victims of press misconduct who genuinely believed he would do the right thing. Worse still, he has put his perception of the political interests of the Tory party ahead of the national interest.
Yesterday was a chance for George Osborne to signal he would act to get the economy moving again in order to get the deficit down and begin to turn around his failing ship. Instead he stuck dogmatically to the course which led Britain to the longest double-dip recession since the war and the slowest recovery of any in the last century.
No one is expecting today's Autumn Statement to bring much in the way of Christmas cheer. However, one good story is the remarkable progress of British aid and what it is achieving for the world's poorest children. A story that is seldom told. A story that the British public should be proud of.
A recent Ipsos MORI poll for the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of the Arts, Manufacture and Commerce) found that 61% of Britons are concerned about the effects of cuts on them and their family over the next year. However, the Ipsos MORI Economic Optimism Index (EOI) shows that the public are beginning to feel slightly more positive about the direction of the economy compared to earlier in the year.
The key in all this is to remember that it's not so called "challenging behaviour" it's actual challenging behaviour. My coccyx and fingers have been broken not "so called broken" but actually broken. Because that's what caring for someone with challenging behaviours is like. Not "so called" like, actually like.
It is now clear that the PCC elections are on track for the lowest turnout in British history. Yesterday many polling stations stood empty. And when we say, 'stood empty' that is - in few cases - the literal truth.
While these low turnouts will be debated and analysed, one thing is clear: they should sound the death knell for the ludicrously shrill cries from some quarters of the Tory party and their supporters for greater restrictions on trade union ballots.
We will never find true happiness through GDP growth alone. To love and be loved - is what ultimately sustains us; all spiritual traditions tell us so and humanists would agree.
Britain has enjoyed Press Freedom for 317 years. It was finally wrestled from the grasp of the State, after centuries of campaigning, in 1695. Many have - literally - died to protect it ever since. So why do so many people want to give it away now?
The recent floods in Manila reminded me that we are at the whim of natural disasters and our changing climate