Think Pieces

It is no time for Westminster to be squeamish over spending cuts

Written by | Monday 17 August 2009

The C-word is out in the open. The Prime Minister previously insisted the debate was between indiscriminate and savage Tory cuts, versus Labour's investment in public services. The Prime Minister uses the term "investment" as we might talk about "investing" in a Mars Bar, which most people would call spending. Now Lord Mandelson has described Labour policy not as big spending, but as wise spending, to be contrasted with Tory "savage cuts".

The Great Crash of 2008: Are governments or markets to blame?

Written by | Friday 10 July 2009


In the early 1980’s I was working as the Research Administrator at the World Bank, whilst the Third World was engulfed by a debt crisis. The current global financial crisis has eerie similarities, but different outcomes. Why?

Government debt: That’ll be £2.2 trillion, please

Written by | Thursday 25 June 2009

The amount of money owed by the Government is huge and rising, says Eamonn Butler, so why aren’t we pursuing simple, effective ways to reduce the burden?

Today is Cost of Government Day. Average taxpayers in Britain now have to work almost half the year – 176 days – to pay their share of the cost of running Gordon Brown’s administration. Every penny we have earned since January 1 has gone to feed the state leviathan. It is only from today that, at last, you have started working for yourselves and your families.

It's GCSE economics: high taxes don't work

Written by | Thursday 7 May 2009

The Chancellor would get a C for his new tax rises and fail history outright. He will also leave the Treasury worse off.

Given the damage that the new 50 per cent tax rate will probably inflict on the UK economy, the Chancellor seems to have been very cavalier about it. When the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee asked how he decided to impose the new rate on everyone earning £150,000 or more, he replied: “There was no science behind it. It was simply my judgment."

Why taxing the rich could make us poorer

Written by | Thursday 30 April 2009

Hope springs eternal in the breasts of politicians. None more so than Alistair Darling's in his Budget speech.

Is Britain Finished?

Written by | Tuesday 28 April 2009

The country's only chance is a leaner, sounder and less indebted government.

Hope springs eternal in the breasts of politicians. None more so than in Alastair Darling, Britain's chancellor of the exchequer, as he delivered his annual budget speech to Parliament last week.

He conceded that Britain's economy was in a bad way. It would shrink by 3.5% this year, rather more than the 1% dip he forecast only in November. But hey, every country is in a bad way right now, and by 2011-12 the U.K. will be growing again at a record, rip-roaring rate of 3.5%. Crisis? What crisis?


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