A Political or Fiscal Coup?
Political Management may be the first step for Structural Reform
As the Chancellor is hailed for his largesse in the public spending review, Dr Gerard Lyons warns that the economy has some way to go:
Thursday 26th November: Growth is the key. That remains the crux in the wake of this week's Autumn Statement and Comprehensive Spending Review.
Yet, for the moment, the growth projections for the economy have been largely overshadowed by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility's (OBR) upward revision to tax revenues and downward revision to debt interest rate payments, the net effect of which was to allow the Chancellor an extra £27 billion to play with over the next five years. This, along with increased taxes, for instance on firms through the apprenticeship levy and on second homes and through higher council tax, allowed the Chancellor to stick to his plans of a £10 billion budget surplus by the end of this Parliament. He was able to achieve this despite abandoning his cuts to tax credit, and easing the overall pace of the squeeze on public spending.
'The economy still has some way to go to achieve balanced growth ....'
Friday 20th November: The attackers may be social outsiders, the problem may be failed integration, but the only response can be sustained vigilance, says Professor Robert Tombs.
Once again France is faced with an Islamist terrorist attack, the second in Paris in under a year. That against Charlie Hebdo in January was targeted against blasphemers. The seemingly indiscriminate attack last Friday was also targeted - according to the statement later put out by IS - but this time against ‘hundreds of apostates gathered in a profligate prostitution party’ in the ‘rotten alleys’ of ‘the capital of prostitution and obscenity’ - in other words, young people indifferent to differences of race, religion and gender having a good time in a mildly bohemian part of Paris. I am reminded of the failed London car bomb placed outside a nightclub in 2005 ‘to kill slags’.
Friday 13th November: This week the prime minister’s proposals for renegotiating Britain’s relations with the EU reached Parliament, opening the nation's debate on what next. Here, one of Britain's most distinguished parliamentarians, The Rt Hon John Redwood MP, explains that for the Eurozone, the future is political union. But that destination is one to which Britain does not want to go. As John Redwood writes:
Private Rights v Public Snooping -
Protecting the Individual with a UK Bill of Rights
Friday 6th November: This week Theresa May introduced the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill proposing new powers for the security services and police over our digital data and to require internet providers to keep a record of internet connection records for a maximum of 12 months. In Parliament and the country there is concern that the measure could give the state too much intrusive power at the expense of the individual, and that the rights people enjoy to privacy could be endangered. However, as Jonathan Fisher QC* explains here, such concerns could be met by the new UK Bill of Rights, on which the government will shortly publish its proposals to replace the Human Rights Act.
That’s the message for the government from parliament’s vote on tax cuts.
Monday 2nd November: A week is a long time in politics, as Lord McFall notes following the House of Lords rejecting the procedure adopted by the government to get the tax credit cuts through. The problem for the government was that it sought to avoid a proper parliamentary debate and so emerged with a bloody nose –not on the substance but because it sought to avoid normal channels of debate. Here Lord McFall, who chaired the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee during the last Labour government, reflects on the message from Parliament and the country.
There he was, walking tall but now walking small. Yes, indeed, for George Osborne a week has been a long time in Politics. And how did this fall come about?
Forget the nonsense of a constitutional crisis, both the speaker of the House of Commons and the distinguished former clerk of the House of Common, Robert Rogers, now Lord Lisvane, have been explicit in stating that the constitutional angle raised by the government is a hullabaloo.