Nigel Hawkins

Cash in the Attic

Written by | Thursday 10 October 2013

Nigel Hawkins identifies £40bn of assets that the state could sell off to cut taxes or pay down the debt, including government-owned real estate, parts of state-owned companies like National Rail, and utilities that the government should not be running in the first place.

Will HS2 be kicked into the long grass?

Written by | Monday 6 August 2012

The much criticised flagship HS2 rail project, which seeks eventually to build a new £50+ billion high-speed rail route between London and Scotland, has had a difficult few months.

Phase 1 from London Euston to Birmingham is due for completion by 2026, whilst the construction of Phase 2 – a Y-configured route from Birmingham to take in both Manchester and Leeds - is scheduled to operate from 2033. 

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HS2 may be heading for the siding

Written by | Sunday 11 December 2011

The recently announced postponement of a decision on the controversial HS2 project, ostensibly on environmental grounds, raises various questions. The Government claims to have found a spare c£500 million, which would enable additional tunnelling to be built in the Chiltern Hills area, where opposition to HS2 is particularly strong. To be fair, £500 million of additional investment – when compared with the £45.5 billion invested in the Royal Bank of Scotland – may not seem a vast amount.

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The case for floating exchange rates

Written by | Friday 11 November 2011

The sorry plight of the Euro-zone provides a robust case for the primacy of floating exchange rates. In years past, many initiatives were undertaken to fix exchange rates – many ended in tears. After all, as Lady Thatcher so elegantly put it ‘you can’t buck the market’. This sentiment is particularly valid in today’s currency markets where vast sums of money change hands – often on spurious rumours.

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Europe's crisis is the UK's opportunity

Written by | Saturday 22 October 2011

cowThe profound financial crisis at the heart of the EU provides an ideal opportunity to address the issue of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which was set up in the 1950s mainly at the instigation of Germany and France. Currently, it accounts for annual expenditure of over €50 billion and represents a colossal percentage – some 40% - of total EU costs. Central to its operation are many concepts – subsidies, quotas, levies and intervention prices – that are anathema to m

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The decline of British retail

Written by | Friday 7 October 2011

With the on-going eurozone crisis, the UK economy is now enveloped in unremitting gloom. Of course, if you over-spend as conspicuously as has been the case over the last decade, the return to normalcy will be immensely challenging – and time-consuming. After years of excess debt, the UK is now experiencing the first elements of a ‘hard landing’.

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On the buses

Written by | Monday 26 September 2011

The UK bus sector has prospered in recent years, despite all the prophecies of gloom when Lady Thatcher’s Conservative Government decided that competition was the best answer to reversing decades of under-investment, lousy service and poor time-tabling.

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It’s RBS, Stupid

Written by | Monday 19 September 2011

Reams of paper have been used to design a safety mechanism for the UK banking sector.

Given that the near collapse of the UK banking system took place in 2008, there is a strong feeling that the Independent Commission on Banking’s (ICB) 363-page Final Report deals with yesterday’s problems.

Two further general observations are warranted about the Report.

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