Embracing uncertainty is the only path out of the pandemic

A few days ago, Sajid Javid made one of the most thoughtful and encouraging statements by a government minister during the whole Covid crisis. Early In July, he seemed to be falling under the control of the modellers. The number of daily infections, he stated confidently, would soon reach 100,000, bowing to the so-called experts. […]

Boris Johnson has sown dangerous ambiguity over Covid rules with mixed messaging for Freedom Day

Sixty years ago, Daniel Ellsberg, as a graduate student at Harvard, wrote a now-seminal paper on behavioural economics. The conclusions of “Risk, ambiguity and the Savage axioms” pose a fundamental challenge to the conventional economic model of rational choice, as well as the Government’s current Covid strategy.  Despite its seemingly esoteric nature, an experiment carried […]

Rishi Sunak vs Boris Johnson: to spend or not to spend?

Rishi Sunak has directed his energy into recasting the Treasury back to its traditional role – the guardian of the public finances. The Chancellor notched up a substantial victory after education recovery tsar, Kevan Collins, resigned earlier this month, after his demand for £15 billion for catch-up programmes in schools was beaten down to a […]

Student loans perpetuate a broken financial system, it’s time for them to go

Whitehall is preparing for a major tussle over student loans, with the Treasury increasingly concerned about the growing burden and its impact on the nation’s finances. The principle of a student loan seems simple: take one out to cover the cost of your time at university and pay it back when you start to earn […]

Longer lockdown based on hypotheticals would come with serious economic costs

The penny is finally beginning to drop. The health service’s focus on giving absolute priority to the treatment of Covid-19 generates costs and problems on a massive scale. Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, has warned of the huge pressures on the NHS from the backlog of non-Covid cases. Many of these are life-threatening […]

Businesses face a fresh tipping point of staff shortages and wage hikes

For years, inflation has not been an issue. Since the late 1990s, annual inflation in the UK has averaged 2 per cent, with a peak of just over 4 per cent. In the US, there was a similar story, with even less variability. This is in stark contrast to the 1970s and 1980s, when the […]