The Great Debate UK
from Luke Baker:
For the best part of 12 years, Labour has pursued essentially conservative (with a small 'c') economic policies, steadily underburdening itself of the 'fiscally unreliable' tag that some earlier Labour administrations were (wrongly or rightly) saddled with.
And for most of the past 12 years, as the global economy steadily expanded and Britain's along with it, with aggregate wealth rising smoothly, Labour looked strong at the helm each time the budget came around.
But since the global economic crisis hit in late 2007, it has become much harder for the government to keep a tight rein on the fiscal strings as growth has taken a hit, unemployment has risen sharply, and tax receipts have declined.
Last April's budget was a tough one for Labour, but Wednesday's budget may well go down as the one that really showed the government reeling as it tries to keep a grip on the purse strings in some of the most challenging economic circumstances imaginable.
Though it’s a cliche to say that a budget is eagerly awaited you can be forgiven for saying so this time around. This year all eyes and ears will be focused on the Chancellor’s economic figures and forecasts. The big question is how will he balance the books – cut public spending or raise taxes? In the run up to an election cuts are ideal but needs must. What will it mean for personal finances?
from The Great Debate:
Britain's banks are fulfilling their Darwinian role, to survive, rather than their economic one, to lend, and there is no easy or painless way out.
A glance at the latest Bank of England Credit Conditions Survey makes grim reading, with yet another marked tightening of lending conditions to households and businesses. Loans are harder to get and more expensive where available, which is hardly surprising given rising defaults and a hardening view that the UK will suffer a long and deep recession.
from The Great Debate:
With the U.S., Japan and Britain -- nearly 40 percent of the global economy -- facing the threat of deflation, it's going to be just too easy for one, two or all three of them to get the policy response horribly wrong.
The global economy is so connected, and our experience with similar situations so limited that the scope for error is huge.