Austerity has no place in post-Brexit Britain

June 27, 2016

Chancellor George Osborne has since 2010 aimed to cut public debt and deficits in the name of financial stability. He may now need to row back to cope with any post-vote economic slowdown. Investors’ reaction so far suggests his fiscal rigour was over-zealous in the first place.

UK’s Osborne is less austere than he makes out

November 25, 2015

Finance minister George Osborne isn’t quite the budget zealot his Nov. 25 spending cuts suggest. The UK has run bigger deficits relative to GDP than France during his tenure. He has also executed tax and spending U-turns when required. It helps that gilt investors buy the hype.

Osborne finds right outlet for political ambition

September 10, 2015

The UK chancellor and perhaps future leader is proposing European treaty change to protect the UK financial sector. Of late, George Osborne policy pronouncements like a UK minimum wage have been political stunts. Protecting the City combines political appeal with practical necessity.

UK’s economic torpor looks structural

December 4, 2014

The slow shrinkage of the UK fiscal deficit is one sign of a weak recovery. There are others – a sharp increase in the current account deficit and GDP per person below the 2007 level. The country’s problems are too deeply entrenched to be solved by government budget tinkering.

Cameron takes deficit amnesia to a new level

October 1, 2014

The UK prime minister crowed when opposition leader Ed Miliband forgot the deficit in a keynote speech. Yet David Cameron has gone further, insisting on the need to tackle the country’s biggest problem and then pledging a tax giveaway. It’s an electoral bribe he can’t afford.

Weakening UK growth creates tax cut Catch-22

September 7, 2011

The UK chancellor faces a Catch-22. While tax cuts would help growth, weak growth means deficit reduction already looks behind schedule. The government needs all the revenue it can muster.

Donor row saps UK government’s austerity authority

March 27, 2012

After a pro-business budget, the “Cash for Cameron” affair has raised concrete concerns that the Conservative-led coalition can be bought by anyone with a fat chequebook. The government’s ability to get the country to swallow ongoing deficit reduction can only be undermined.

Osborne should take King’s naughty fiscal gift

September 21, 2012

Mervyn King is at it again. The BoE governor made his support for the government’s austerity drive too plain and now is giving the Treasury excuses to miss its debt target. Chancellor George Osborne should accept the gift. Euro crisis helps the case for looser not tighter policy.

UK policy rhetoric flies in the face of reality

March 7, 2013

The British government says it believes in fiscal conservatism but runs one of the largest deficits in Europe. It also says it wants a more aggressive central bank, but the BoE is already a global leader in money printing. The unrealistic rhetoric muddies the policy debate.

UK would gain from homeowner tax switch

March 8, 2013

Homeowners are a tempting target for cash-strapped UK tax collectors. One option is to levy “mansion taxes”; another is to milk existing stamp duties. It would be better to forget the first, scrap the second and close the capital gains tax loophole on residential property.