Cautious corporates sitting on hoards of cash are to blame for our slow recovery

London construction

The slow recovery since the financial crisis remains a dominant issue in both political and economic debate. The economy has definitely revived since 2009, the depth of the recession, in both Britain and America. The average annual growth in real GDP has been very similar, at 2.0 and 2.1 per cent respectively. This is much […]

The OBR shouldn’t be expected to forecast so far into the future

Economic forecasts have become a political hot potato. The Office for Budget Responsibility’s (OBR) predictions, presented as part of the chancellor’s Autumn Statement, have put the government under pressure. The OBR has revised down its forecast for GDP growth over the next four years by 1.4 percentage points. The real controversy is that their gloomy […]

The only way could be down for shares – and Brexit is just the catalyst

The Brexit vote creates many uncertainties, exciting or frightening depending on your predilection. One thing which is certain is that the Leave victory was delivered by the less-skilled sections of the electorate. It seems part of a more general stirring up of what we might think of as the dispossessed, those who feel left behind […]

Is Britain on the edge of recession? History is an unreliable guide

Concerns are growing about a marked slowdown in the UK economy. The Lloyds Bank purchasing managers’ index, for example, fell to 52.1 in April, its lowest point since 2013. The initial estimate for GDP, total output, in the first quarter of this year shows an increase of just 0.4 per cent on the final quarter of 2015. […]

Integration won’t save the struggling Eurozone

Olivier Blanchard, the recently retired Head of Economics at the International Monetary Fund, has something of a track record with his predictions.  In 2013, he warned George Osborne that he was “playing with fire” with the UK’s recovery from the financial crisis.  Austerity had to be relaxed. We now know that we were actually nowhere […]

Capitalism is stable and resilient

The financial crisis did succeed in creating one dynamic new industry.  Since the late 2000s, there has been a massive upsurge in op-ed pieces, books and even artistic performances offering a critique of capitalism. A founder member of the Monty Python team, Terry Jones, is the latest to get in on the act with his […]

The Happy Band of the Self Employed 

How many workers does the typical American firm employ?   Actually, it is a trick question. The answer is ‘zero’.  More than 50 per cent of all companies in the United States are one person operations – the owner, and no-one else. This fragmentation of size is increasingly reflected in the UK.  Here, the main growth […]

More ideas like HS3 are needed to solve our regional problems

In London and much of the South East, the recovery has been well under way for a considerable time.  House prices boom and restaurants are packed.  The economic data for the UK as a whole looks just as encouraging, with employment being at its highest ever level. Yet there are persistent complaints that the recovery […]

Psychology, not hard line maths, tells us why Osborne’s strategy is working

So, International Monetary Fund, wrong again! At the end of last week, the IMF abandoned its criticism of the UK government’s economic strategy. Christine Lagarde, the IMF chief, said her organisation had ‘underestimated’ the strength of the recovery in Britain. The IMF now believes that the UK will be the fastest growing of any major […]