October 21, 2011
The road network and public debt - on the face of it, two unrelated topics. One is an under-resourced, often ignored asset, vital to the social and economic well-being of the nation, as much of an essential service as other utilities such as the water, power and communications industries. Public debt meanwhile rises inexorably especially taking account of pensions and PFI liabilities – all in all it is potentially catastrophic to the UK’s future prosperity.
September 26, 2011
Conventional wisdom dictates that we are imminently reaching high noon for the Euro. The assumption then is that the single currency will either collapse or the Eurozone will be forced to move rapidly towards full fiscal union. Recent experience suggests the road ahead may not be so straightforward, whatever assurances we hear about sorting things out ‘within six weeks’. It is quite feasible that we shall experience many more months of tottering along from market crisis to emergency meeting to fully-fledged conference...
September 7, 2011
Memories in the world of banking are notoriously short. It was just three years ago this month with the collapse of Lehman Brothers that the global financial system came close to imploding. As time has passed, recollections of this near-catastrophe have rapidly dimmed and the international momentum for fundamental reform has stalled.
July 26, 2011
The Coalition government inherited a catastrophic economic legacy. Unlike those heady days of 1997 things surely can ‘only get better’? I am becoming used to reading economic reports from every business sector and special interest groups acknowledging the seriousness of the economic situation, but there still seems to be a common refrain that says ‘...but please don’t cut government spending in our area.’...
July 13, 2011
Mark has written the following article for this morning's Daily Telegraph on financial regulation: "When the crunch came, no one knew who was in charge.” It was with those words that George Osborne laid to rest the tripartite system of financial regulation at last year’s Mansion House dinner. At this year’s banquet, the Chancellor set out details of a “new settlement” between Britain and its banks, and last month he published a White Paper containing the draft legislation that will bring this brave new world into being...
July 1, 2011
The economic appeasement of the Greeks will soon be over. For in sanctioning a second bailout to Greece, last week’s hapless EU summit served only to embolden politicians and protesting populations in Ireland, Portugal and elsewhere that they can continue living beyond their means indefinitely. It is the abject failure of the European political class to face up to stark economic reality that makes the latest stage of the Eurozone financial crisis potentially so very dangerous....
June 14, 2011
With a residential population of just under 70 000 but with a daily workforce close on one million, my constituency mailbag is regularly filled with letters from business folk, often from small or medium-sized companies. In the wake of the credit crunch, many of them asked the same question: given that the government has poured billions into propping up the banks, why am I finding it difficult to secure credit for my business?...
April 27, 2011
Now that some dust has started to settle on the Independent Banking Commission’s interim report on reform of the industry it would be wise to recognise this as merely the opening salvo in what promises to be a prolonged battle. Amidst the smooth consensual tone of the IBC’s report no one should be under any illusions that this reflects merely the starting point in the reform process. Negotiations between the Commission (and by extension the UK government) and the banking fraternity alongside their public affairs advisers will now begin in earnest. ...
April 7, 2011
Observers of global economic trends will have noticed the paradox that whilst size of national markets is perceived to bring with it unmitigated potential benefits, there is increasing public hostility to large global institutions and corporations. Hot on the heels of the BRIC group of nations, has emerged the CIVETS amalgam of developing countries (Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa). It is these nations enjoying critical population mass, and a demographic skewed strongly towards those under the age of 25, which are near universally regarded as locations of likely optimal economic growth in the decades ahead. ...
March 17, 2011
As the Budget looms, Labour’s slogan that reductions in public spending go ‘too far, too fast’ has regrettably developed resonance. Not simply because it has been repeated ad nauseam – though the discipline with which it has been should also act as a salutary reminder to the Coalition. The reason this soundbite strikes a chord is because it seems plausible. Whether Conservatives like it or not there is in truth an alternative to the immediate cutbacks in public expenditure ...