Slipping away


The iconoclastic Simon Jenkins writes an excellent piece in the Guardian calling for the government to do nothing to stem falling house prices (except reduce government imposed financial burdens on buyers). In the same piece, Jenkins derides the careless remarks of the chancellor, the burden of health, safety, building and employment laws and the lunacies of European tendering rules for undermining the economy.

Quite right, Labour’s tax and regulation regimes are also pushing big business away from these shores:

In the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index, the UK slipped from fourth place in 1998 to 15th place in 2003 and has since been hovering around ninth or 10th. While the index measures everything from infrastructure to education and crime, it says tax rates and tax regulations are the most problematic factors for doing business here.

Also, the energy windfall tax nonsense (see here and here) is refusing to die, with reports that the government is blackmailing energy companies with threats to introduce it. How economically incompetent can a government be? Well, if Hazel Blears is anything to go by... Merryn Somerset Webb has it about right when she postulates - in reference to Hazel Blear’s advice on the Today programme for young couples that are refused commercial loans to go out and buy a house through the gimmicky HomeBuy Direct – that she may be “very stupid" and have “no idea how markets work".