UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

from MacroScope:

UK goes crisis camping

If the Hollands Wood campsite in the New Forest, near England's south coast is anything to go by, the recession really is altering the holidaymaking habits of the British public.

On the often rain-sodden site three Porches, a couple of Jaguars and numerous BMWs and Mercedes were spotted among the more typical, Skodas and Ford Mondeos usually associated with roughing it under canvas.

Unlike for the same period last year, the campsite was solidly booked out, despite no sign of the barbecue summer the weathermen promised.

One camper, Sarah, a senior publishing executive gave some clues to explaining the popularity of the cost-effective approach to getting away from it all.

from Global Investing:

Is it time for a Scottish wealth fund?

Oxford SWF Project, a university think tank on sovereign wealth funds, is looking at reports that the latest entry in the field could be Scotland. The project has a new post about the Scottish government floating the idea of an oil stabilisation fund to use oil and gas revenues.  It cites Scottish cabinet secretary for finance John Swinney looking abroad gleefully:

“We want to harness the benefit of oil revenues now for future years. An oil fund can provide greater stability, protect our economy and support the transition to a low carbon economy. Norway’s oil fund is worth over £200 billion – despite the first instalment being made as recently as the mid 1990s – and Alaska’s oil fund even gives money back to its citizens every year.”

from MacroScope:

UK heading for second downturn?

MacroScope is pleased to post the following from guest blogger Julian Chillingworth. Chillingworth is chief investment officer of UK investor Rathbones. He questions here whether Britain will face a second downturn shortly after struggling out of recession.

Are we likely to witness a two-tier recession in the UK?  Perhaps not a recession but certainly a secondary downturn. A vast number of people have enjoyed lower mortgage payments and a level of job security, but will this last?

from MacroScope:

What me, British economist?

Time was when a British education had a cachet, especially among Britain's far-flung colonial territories.

But could the prestige of even a Cambridge or Oxford degree be a little dulled in these parlous days for the British economy, now labouring under massive public debt and a decade-high unemployment rate?

Is Britain paying too high a price in Afghanistan?

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The death toll among British troops in Afghanistan is rising fast.  The soldier who died on Tuesday was the seventh to die in the last week and the 176th since the war began.

Last Wednesday, Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe became the highest ranking British soldier to die in the conflict in Afghanistan when he was killed in Helmand. British commanders are quoted as saying things are going to get worse before they get better.

from MacroScope:

Crisis, what crisis, time again in Britain

Britain's recession, like the downturns in most other places, is being hailed as either having reachえd bottom or tailed off in its decline. The latest to trumpet the beginning of the end is the British Chambers of Commerce, which said business orders and sales had continued to fall in the second quarter but at a slower pace than previously.

So does this mean that the Bank of England will soon start raising interest rates from the negligible 0.5 percent reached last year as policymakers sought to pump liquidity into a failing economy? Not according to researchers Capital Economics, which argues in a new report that market assumptions of higher rates at an early stage are misplaced. They offer three reasons:

from Global News Journal:

Germany’s Finance Minister takes aim at the City

Has German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck finally said what many world leaders think but are afraid to say? That the British government won't sign up to meaningful reform of financial markets because it is too worried about what it would mean for the country’s most famous cash cow, the City of London.

 

The City, which accounts for around 35 percent of global foreign exchange turnover, has been a popular target for critics of capitalism for years. But it has rarely been singled out so bluntly as a problem by one of Britain’s close allies.

MPs shoot themselves in foot over expenses

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The online release of MPs’ expense claims has only served to further dent their already battered reputation.

Forty-two days after the Daily Telegraph began to investigate MPs’ expenses the Houses of Parliament finally got round to publishing official details of them. Or rather it didn’t, as lots of key information was blacked out.

Is powerful Mandy talking up the euro?

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When Prime Minister Gordon Brown reshuffled his cabinet last week, fending off a challenge to his authority, a significant outcome was the creation of one of the most powerful ministerial jobs Britain has seen in years.

 

Peter Mandelson, a former European commissioner who has twice served in British governments in the past and twice been forced to resign, was reconfirmed as secretary of state for business, but also given greatly expanded authorities that make him a powerful if unofficial number two to Brown.

Is Britain being too slow in promoting broadband?

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A new report from Ofcom, reveals that more than 30 percent of homes in Britain don’t have basic broadband service.

The study will become part of the government’s Digital Britain report, which is intended to help keep the UK economically and culturally competitive by promoting broadband access.

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