Discussion of the UK Government
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By Tubby Isaacs
Membership Days Posts
#272324
The great man has come 15th out of 19 in the FT's annual ranking of European Finance ministers.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/617b5920-3324 ... z2CtxE5nHl" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Out of the four he beats, three are new to the job, so haven't had anything like the chance he's had. So basically he's the worst apart from Hungary. The summary says:
The 41-year-old Conservative career politician has found his third year in charge of the economy his toughest. He had hoped for modest growth to start this year, accelerating as the year progressed. Instead, the economy has contracted and, although employment has grown strongly, is no bigger than in the second half of 2010. This has undermined the coalition government's deficit reduction plan, and the public finances are likely to be repaired only in 2018. The challenge for 2013 is to show the economy can grow while the deficit is being reduced. For that, Mr Osborne will need a fair wind from still-troubled banks, the eurozone and global commodity price rises, which have undermined the economy as much as spending restraint. More than anything, he needs to inject confidence into companies. Another year of stagnation and he will look replaceable should the government want to change direction.
That's putting it rather kindly. And on economic rating, which you'd think was the most important, he comes 16th.

The people doing the ranking are not hostile to him. He came 3rd last year (though again, IIRC, was not that good on economics).
#272340
While I'm on the FT:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/1d11c4b0-33f4 ... z2CtxE5nHl" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Hope you can read this behind the paywall- you get a certain number of free articles, I think.

Apparently Osborne has saved £1.5bn from PFI liabilities. They're £122bn in total. Stunning. Some of the PFI companies may be taking voluntary cuts. I wonder what they'll get in return, eh?

There's also a nice accounting tick being pulled.
The remodelled version of PFI is expected to include changes such as greater transparency and the stripping out of services such as cleaning, security and catering from the 25-30 year contracts to keep costs down.
For which read that those running costs will be borne by the government but not count as PFI liabilities. No guarantee they'll cost less in practice, and a future government will still have to pay them, but the PFI bit will sound cheaper.

The article also confirms that the "get pension funds to finance infrastructure" thing is way short of target. Not that it's free money in any case- won't it cost more than borrowing it direct from the markets?
#272344
Looks like he's been profiting from his second home allowance:

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/ge ... it-1449641" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Chancellor George Osborne has made a fortune by secretly flogging his second home which the taxpayer helped pay for.

Neighbours say the top Tory has made about £450,000 profit from the sale of the Cheshire farmhouse.

The bumper payday for Mr Osborne is mainly thanks to public cash used to pay interest on monthly payments for the exclusive property.

News of the deal comes as the Chancellor and David Cameron face a Tory backlash over the huge sums they are making renting out their London homes while living in Downing Street.

Mr Osborne bought Harrop Fold Farm, near Macclesfield for £445,000 in 2000.

Using his Commons allowances, he was claiming up to £1,900 a month in interest payments on the mortgage.

He then tried to rent the property before managing to sell it, without it going on the open market, for up to £900,000 this year.

Taxpayer-funded home loans were banned under a new Commons expenses system brought in to restore public trust in politics after the 2009 expenses scandal.

MPs were given until this summer to stop claiming but those who carried on after the election in 2010 have to pay a slice of the profit back to the Parliamentary authorities.

But because Mr Osborne stopped claiming expenses after the election he does not have to pay a penny back to the Parliamentary authorities.
#272368
Duncan Weldon sums it up pretty neatly over at the TUC Touchstone blog.
On the current independent consensus the government is set to borrow almost £80bn more than they intended at the time of the budget by 2016.

Given that the current OBR projections are already more than £150bn higher than at the time of the Comprehensive Spending Review of 2010, the Government now looks set to miss its initial borrowing targets by something in the order of a quarter of a trillion pounds.

Plan A has failed.
http://touchstoneblog.org.uk/2012/11/go ... on-pounds/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

And yet there are still those on the Labour right calling for 'tough decisions' on the deficit - there's a report out from the Fabians this week. Surely the real 'tough decision' would be to break away from what is quite evidently a failed consensus.
 
By spoonman
Membership Days Posts
#272726
Tubby Isaacs wrote:The Spain Finance Minister seems to have been marked down because he has to share responsibility with another minister, responsible for "Budget".

He might have challenged Osborne without that burden.
I see Michael Noonan lies fifth. He's a reasonable safe pair of hands and hasn't done anything too controversial even with some large budget deficits still hanging around. Had the last Irish Finance Minister (the late Brian Lenihan) not taken on such a massive burden of private banking debts along with the property market crash in the form of NAMA, the Republic would probably be in a position not dissimilar to Iceland at present - not out of the woods but a glimmer of daylight on the horizon.
#273410
Didn't Noonan once have a nasty health related scandal?

I see Osborne's going to defer the fuel duty rise again.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012 ... y-increase" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I can see the economic argument against it- that it puts up the cost of haulage, hits household disposable income etc- but I'd be surprised too if cancelling it didn't have some effect on the bad borrowing figures we've had. Yet haven't seen many people make the connection.

John Major was pretty hard on motorists, I recall. If the Tories believe what they say about him having left a stellar economy for Labour then maybe they should follow his lead.
#273521
There's a report out today from the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/ ... udget.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Weak economic growth and lower than expected tax payments have left a hole in the Chancellor’s plans that may need to be filled by higher taxes or further cuts to public spending, the Institute for Fiscal Studies said.

Even under the most “optimistic” forecast, the Chancellor will miss his target for debt to fall between 2015 and 2016 and should abandon the goal, the IFS said.
So the solution to the failure of Gideonomics is... more Gideonomics.
If the current weak growth and low tax receipts are permanent, the Chancellor will need another £23 billion of tax rises or spending cuts to be on course to meet his mandate by 2018, the report said.

The think-tank said this would be “roughly equivalent to increasing the main rate of VAT from 20 per cent to 25 per cent”, or imposing even deeper welfare cuts than announced so far.
Raising VAT hasn't exactly worked wonders for growth in Greece and Spain, and welfare isn't the bottomless pit IDS and co seem to think it is. They don't call economics the dismal science for nowt.
Last edited by new puritan on Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
#273524
Osborne has already increased VAT by 2.5% once and did bugger all good. He should be raising direct taxes on the wealthy instead of fucking cutting them.
#273613
The march of the makers continues apace.
Britain's economy is not strong enough to cope with further austerity, the manufacturers' trade body has warned, adding to the pressure on the chancellor to reject bigger spending cuts in his autumn statement next month.

The EEF said George Osborne should focus on restoring growth by increasing competition in the small business banking market and making purchases of new plant and machinery fully tax deductible.

After a month of weak economic data that culminated last week in a higher than expected public sector deficit, the EEF's call for a series of measures to increase lending and investment will resonate with most business leaders.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012 ... -austerity" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

No prizes for guessing whether or not Gid will take this on board.
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