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The Chancellor has till mid-2021 to convince the markets that he has a policy to get the deficit under control but a messy Brexit could limit his fiscal options
October 5, 2020

The Chancellor has till mid-2021 to convince the markets that he has a policy to get the deficit under control but a messy Brexit could limit his fiscal options   There is clearly a debate going on in Whitehall about the appropriate size for the UK budget deficit. The Treasury line seems to be that

Excluding restaurants from the 10pm hospitality curfew would decrease the economic hit of the policy by £3.8bn, while still achieving the desired epidemiological benefits
September 26, 2020

Earlier this week the government announced that, in an effort to suppress the infection rate, pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants across England will only be allowed to operate until 10pm. Explaining the reasoning behind the new measure, Boris Johnson noted that ‘the spread of the disease does tend to happen later at night after more

Turnaround towns
September 25, 2020

Northern towns on track to turnaround half a decade of underperformance with signs of local town-led recovery as people work where they live Download the full report here   New analysis of proprietary Post Office data reveals that struggling towns in the north of England are experiencing strong growth following the first lockdown. Towns like

Take ten years to reduce the deficit and 50 years to pay off the debt
September 7, 2020

There has been some lively discussion in the media during the past week about what looks like a leak from Downing Street suggesting that taxes will be raised in the Autumn Budget to pay for the costs of coronavirus and the impact of the associated recession.   Most of the discussion has been about the

GDP could stand £70 billion higher when the schools reopen but part of the swing will be exaggerated by measurement issues
August 31, 2020

There are quite a lot of different impacts on the economy that are likely to follow from the reopening of schools next month. The most recent GDP figures show the education sector as one of the most affected of all sectors of the economy even though the figures are somewhat misleading because they do not

UK GDP saw a record decline in Q2 – but how much of it can be explained by how we measure public sector output?
August 24, 2020

This month saw the release of Q2 GDP data for most eurozone countries as well as the UK and the US. The picture was one of record contractions in output in most countries. Only in a few cases shown in Figure 1, such as Lithuania and Finland, could the annual fall in Q2 GDP be

Eat Out to Help Out sees diner numbers surpass pre-lockdown levels by a quarter, giving the UK a much-needed boost towards normality
August 17, 2020

When the Eat Out to Help Out scheme was announced in early July many, myself included, were sceptical. It sounded like a bit of a gimmicky policy, that while innovative, would in practice accomplish little in terms of helping the hospitality sector. My scepticism faded on Aug 3, the first day of the scheme, when

The take-up of tech – this is crucial for the recovery
August 10, 2020

This week Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman of Ogilvy, in a column in the Spectator, points out that the take up of tech is much more limited by the demand side than the supply side, which is true. He then suggests that he is one of the very few people to observe this, a more dubious

Three good reasons for optimism – things could look so different a year from now, but getting there will be difficult….
July 27, 2020

William McChesney Martin served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank Board of Governors for an astonishing 20 years under five Presidents. But he is best known for saying that the role of the Fed was to take away the punchbowl just as the party got going. And historically economists and central bankers have been

As many as 70,000 e-scooter trips to work could be made in London each day. Could this be an ingredient in bringing dynamism back to the Central London economy?
July 13, 2020

Last week it became legal to use an e-scooter on UK public roads – provided it is rented from one of the Government-approved schemes that are to be trialled by local councils over the next 12 months. The announcement has been greeted with enthusiasm. The first UK scheme is expected to be up and running

Spending in pubs to reach £210 million during opening weekend, though longer-term industry profitability set to be down by more than 75%
June 29, 2020

Three-and-a-half months since their enforced closure, the great British pub is set to return next weekend. Tastes for alcohol have certainly not subsided during the lockdown, with alcohol stores being one of only two retail channels to see an uptick in sales volumes since the start of the crisis. Nevertheless, the long-awaited call of draught

There are increasing risks of war and famine, to add to that of pestilence
June 22, 2020

Having already suffered pestilence, do we need to look out for the other three apocalyptic horsemen from the Book of Revelations: war, famine and death*?   In the past month, there have been some signs. China and India are facing off in the Himalayas, never a good sign when both parties are nuclear-equipped. Cyberwarfare has

Full Fibre turbocharging the UK
June 19, 2020

The UK’s fibre future is within reach. Together we can create a more connected, productive and competitive economy. We can help ease the ever-increasing demand on our public services and we can transform the way people are able to live and work.   Research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) has shown that

Get Britain Back to Work
June 12, 2020

The below is an amended version of an article published in the Daily Mail on 10 June.   The economy has started to recover from the depths that it plumbed last month. But it looks likely that, after a bounce as lockdown ends, we may then be stuck for a while at around 85-90pc of

Using Digital to revive the UK – Full Fibre Broadband and the growth of the Digital Economy could create an additional 1.2 million skilled jobs by 2025
June 7, 2020

FORECASTING EYE SPECIAL   The UK economy is certainly starting to revive from its coronavirus caused crash and will continue to do so as lockdown diminishes.   How far the recovery will go in the short term will depend on a series of factors – whether an effective Covid 19 vaccine will emerge from one

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