There’s a solution to dire public services: make our public sector more productive

Pre-election blows are being traded with increasing ferocity by both the main parties. Do the costs of Labour’s energy policies bear scrutiny? And can the Conservatives really afford to cut taxes? All of these questions relate back to the state of the public finances. Taxes are already at a post-war high relative to the size […]

Marriage: Romantics bemoan its demise but so should economists

The dramatic erosion of marriage in the UK is one of the key social changes of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.   Last week, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published data showing that for the first time the proportion of the population aged over 16 who were married had fallen to below 50 per cent. […]

May Cameron’s Wellbeing Unit rest in peace, money can buy happiness after all

Last month, the government announced that the What Works Centre for Wellbeing, set up with great fanfare by David Cameron in 2014 with the mission to boost national happiness, is to be shut down. Ever since the concept was first launched after the Second World War, the main focus of the policy of governments of […]

Without a recession, Bailey won’t wrest back control over inflation

Andrew Bailey, Governor of the Bank of England, admitted last week that interest rates will remain higher for some time to come.  The boss of the Old Lady said he stood by the target inflation rate of 2 per cent, but to get there, higher interest rates were necessary in the arsenal for the “last […]

Sunak should be modelling his fiscal rules on Clem Attlee’s, not Margaret Thatcher’s

Normally, reading economic statistics is, for almost everybody, a sure-fire way of curing insomnia. Not anymore. The Office for National Statistics came out with yet another attention-grabber last week. Government debt in the UK, the august body pronounced, is now bigger than GDP for the first time in over 60 years. The statisticians did qualify […]

Our tech advances are difficult for productivity stats to compute

One of the most depressing aspects of the decade of the 2010s, well before Covid-19 struck, was the apparently very slow growth in productivity. This is not a mere ivory tower issue.  It is only through increasing productivity that rises in living standards can be sustained. Productivity is the key measure of the efficiency of […]

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