Time for the Treasury to get with the programme — Britain can afford to spend

HM Treasury

In the days of the old Soviet Union, so-called Kremlinologists would pore over every utterance of the Politburo, every sentence in Pravda, to try to work out what was really going on. Sajid Javid’s defenestration from the Treasury has led to an upsurge in similar types of intellectual effort here. What was it really all […]

Labour’s plans add up on paper, but that won’t translate to the real world

Labour Party General Election Launch 2017

The two main manifestos have been published. Initially at least, the Labour one seems the more popular. Many people are susceptible to being bribed with other people’s money. Labour claims that their plans to spend an additional £49 billion have been fully costed. At one level, this is true. A set of tax changes and […]

What Dirty Harry tells us about economic forecasters’ Michael Fish moment

Economic forecasters are in the dock. Last week, none other than the chief economist of the Bank of England, Andy Haldane, was confessing the crimes of the profession. The failure to predict the financial crisis was, Haldane said, economic forecasting’s “Michael Fish” moment. Thirty years ago, the BBC weatherman predicted that the UK would avoid […]

Look to Twitter for why Britain’s economy proved Project Fear wrong

The economic data on post-Brexit Britain is beginning to emerge.  We discovered last month that employment in May to July grew by 174,000 compared to the previous three months.  Last week, the Office for National Statistics published its estimate for the output of the service sector of the economy in July.  This shows a 0.4 […]

Bank bail outs are no model to follow for British steel

The potential closure of the Tata steel plants, and the plight of Port Talbot is a tragedy for those directly affected. A key question is: if the banks could be saved, why not steel?  From a purely political perspective, the topic has legs.  The loyal, hard working Welshmen, fearful for their families’ futures, contrasted with the […]

Forward guidance needed for companies, not consumers

Most of the commentary on the UK’s economic recovery focuses on consumers. Are they taking on too much debt again to finance their spending? Is there a bubble in house prices, as people get excited about bricks and mortar again? Certainly, in terms of its sheer size, spending by consumers is by far the biggest […]

Chess and Decision Making

The World Chess Championship is underway, and the current champion – the Indian Viswanathan Anand – is trailing his young rival Magnus Carlsen by three to five. In the opinion of many, Carlsen is set fair to become the strongest ever human player. The match is an absorbing spectacle, but the game of chess is […]

Recovery and summer are in the air, but doom mongers still lurk

The GDP growth figures announced last week for the second quarter of this year have sent most people away on their holidays in a cheerier mood than last year. The recent weather has certainly helped. But gloomy clouds may hover over the exclusive settings of Tuscan villas and beach houses in Martha’s Vineyard, where bien pensant commentators […]