Sunak’s flexibility has been curtailed by our undue reverence for the Bank of England

Rishi Sunak will deliver an updated Autumn Statement next week, after Liz Truss’ so-called “mini-budget” triggered her demise. His freedom for manoeuvre has been sharply contained by the new found reverence being accorded to the Bank of England and the Office for Budget Responsibility. The Bank of England has forecast a long recession, which could […]

Our scientists were given responsibility in the pandemic but no public accountability

Last week, Rishi Sunak rehashed old wounds and stirred up more controversy over lockdowns during the height of the pandemic. The former Chancellor now says scientists were given too much power, where policy choices should have rested with those elected policy makers known as our leaders.  Unlike most other government policies, there was little cost-benefit […]

Spiralling energy prices are a powerful lesson for our future plans for green power

For most politicians and commentators, green taxes are firmly established as an unequivocally Good Thing. True, Liz Truss has called for green levies to be temporarily halted to help drive down energy bills. But even if the next prime minister does intervene, once world energy prices start to fall substantially, she would be under enormous […]

A windfall tax raised by a money-hungry government will scare off our businesses

Rishi Sunak’s windfall tax on energy firms – what he called a “temporary targeted profits levy” – has gone down well with voters. The tax makes it look like money is raised from someone else and given to them through subsidies to their bills. Despite claims that the tax will yield an additional £5bn in […]

As government debt jumps to fund defence spending, our economy will pay the price

Sanctions will clearly hit the Russian economy very hard. But economic prospects for the West are not exactly rosy. Twice in the 1970s and again in the early 90s, there were rapid spikes in oil prices; each instance was followed by economic recessions. The deep recession following 2008 was, of course, due to financial causes […]

Britons squeamish to spend their savings are jeopardising our economic recovery

The economic recovery is under threat. British consumers are saving and not spending. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) estimates that during lockdown, households accumulated a massive £180bn of so-called “excess savings”.   Earlier in the year, most economic forecasts assumed that these would be run down. Lockdown had constrained people’s normal behaviour and with the […]

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 […]

Hurrah for a vaccine — but was lockdown actually worth it?

The development of the vaccines has changed many things. It has even influenced the opinion of the Prince of Lockdown himself, health secretary Matt Hancock. Life, he pronounced at the weekend, would be back to normal by the spring and the “blasted regulations” abolished. But one thing has remained constant: the government’s continued refusal to […]