Budget 2021: The political consensus on low taxes could be completely wrong

In the run up to most Budgets there is almost always one key question shaping debate: should the screws be tightened or the floodgates opened? This time round, a near unanimous consensus has arisen. Taxes should not go up, for fear of jeopardising the recovery.  Even the Leader of the Labour Party has signed up to […]

Can we innovate better outside the EU? Economic lessons from the Nobel prize winner

Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown’s time as chancellor will be remembered for many things. A sense of humour would be conspicuously absent from this list. But he provoked a great deal of mirth unintentionally in a speech shortly before the 1997 General Election on the theme of “post-neoclassical endogenous growth theory”. Perhaps the last laugh is with Brown. The […]

The UK could teach the Eurozone a thing or two about successful monetary unions

Euro sign

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) published last week some figures which show how a successful monetary union works in practice. It is not obvious at first sight, from the dry heading: “regional public sector finances”. The ONS collects information on the amounts of public spending and money raised in taxes across the regions of […]

Valuing the Future. Why Climate Change Agreement is Hard

The two week long Paris conference on climate change seems to drag on interminably.  There are obviously many reasons why such summits find it difficult to reach meaningful agreements.  But a fundamental one is that the electorates of the West are being asked to bear substantial costs right here and now, in return for a […]

CEO compensation and Jamaican demands for reparations: two sides of the same coin

David Cameron’s visit to Jamaica last week led to vociferous demands for the UK to pay the Caribbean island billions of pounds in reparations for slavery.  Most people here reacted with predictable eye-rolls and sighs.  Slavery was abolished throughout the British Empire in 1833, nearly two centuries ago.  Jamaica has been independent since 1962, over […]

Markets are good, but we need clear signals

Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of the general election result is the abuse which is now being heaped on the metropolitan liberal elite from many quarters.  Theirs is truly a difficult mind set to comprehend, based as it is on an unshakeable belief in their own omniscience. Yet this is confounded on an almost daily […]

The 38 per cent tipping point on tax

Ed Miliband’s proposal to tax non-doms more harshly may be good, populist politics. But does it make economic sense? At most, the yield will be around £1 billion, even if people do not alter their behaviour in response to the change in policy. The actual amount generated could even be negative if enough non-doms leave the […]

The ‘Gentleman in Whitehall’ does not know best

The government is relaxed about people cashing in their pension schemes to buy a Lamborghini. But the left-leaning liberal commentariat is certainly not. Abuse has been heaped onto George Osborne’s Budget measure of removing the requirement for people to buy an annuity. The main thrust of the attacks is that individuals may act irresponsibly. They […]

Grangemouth highlights the competitive problems of the Rest of the UK

The recovery in the British economy is now firmly established.  Output in the services sector, the largest part of the economy, is above the previous peak level prior to the crash in 2008.   There is a widespread myth that the recovery is fueled by debt-financed personal spending. Yet since the trough of the recession in […]

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