UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

from The Great Debate UK:

Entrepreneurs needed if the UK is going to make up the deficit

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-Joe White is managing director of Moonfruit.com. The opinions expressed are his own. Join Reuters for a live discussion with guests as UK Chancellor George Osborne makes an emergency budget statement at 12:30 p.m. British time on Tuesday, June 22, 2010.-

The first Tory budget is a critical one. The Treasury and Chancellor George Osborne have been dropping hints for weeks about a big slash in public sector spending in an effort to try and prepare Whitehall for the worst, and to rally the private sector to step in and fill the deficit.

It’s a risky strategy. The belief that you can slash deficits and generate private sector growth is close to Tory hearts, and further encouraged by recent successes in this area by the Canadians.

But the difficulty is that when Canada implemented rapid deficit reduction, the wider global macro-economic climate was much more benign. One person’s spending is another person’s income, so reducing spending will reduce income unless other kinds of spending rise to fill the gap.

from The Great Debate UK:

Taxes and the emergency budget

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BRITAIN-ELECTION/

-Julia Whittle is head of International at Punter Southall Financial Management. The opinions expressed are her own. Join Reuters for a live discussion with guests as UK Chancellor George Osborne makes  an emergency budget statement at 12:30 p.m. British time on Tuesday, June 22, 2010.-

It is highly unlikely previous Capital Gains Tax proposals will be reversed in Chancellor George Osborne's first budget.

from The Great Debate UK:

A budget of woes? Where has our imagination gone?

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BRITAIN-BUDGET

-Ruth Porter is communications manager at the Institute of Economic Affairs. The opinions expressed are her own. Join Reuters for a live discussion with guests as Chancellor George Osborne makes  an emergency budget statement at 12:30 p.m. British time on Tuesday, June 22, 2010.-

George Osborne has the chance to do something really radical on Tuesday in his budget statement.

This may hurt a little

Britons are being prepared for the hardest of hard times. Prime Minister David Cameron has warned the public that they will feel the impact of deficit-cutting decisions for years and maybe even decades. Cameron justifies the pain by saying that doing nothing about debt would be disastrous and that Britain will come out of the other side as a stronger country.

His finance minister George Osborne and LibDem sidekick Danny Alexander were setting out plans on Tuesday for how to conduct this year’s spending review, with  unions, the public and the private sector asked to contribute ideas.

George Osborne takes risk with rhetoric

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George Osborne once said he spends more time thinking about politics than he does about economics.

Now that he’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, he probably needs to think about the latter a bit more.

New politics? Looks like more of the same to me

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When I interviewed David Cameron earlier this year after an event at Thomson Reuters in which he, George Osborne and Ken Clarke delivered their views on the economy under a “Vote For Change” banner, I suggested that watching three white, middle-aged men talking about what was good for Britain didn’t feel much like change to me. Cameron jokingly replied that Clarke, 69, would be flattered to be described as middle-aged.

The Conservative leader then shifted in his seat, sat up straight and talked seriously about all the hard work his party was doing to field more female and ethnic minority candidates. His new Deputy Prime Minister, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, talks repeatedly of a “new politics” and how this time politicians will do things differently.

Tories could be making sterling a rod for their own back

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BRITAIN-CONSERVATIVES/Talking down the pound could have some pretty bad consequences.

Ever since the debacle of sterling being forced out of the European exchange rate in September 1992, British officials and politicians have maintained a stiff upper lip when talking about the pound.

The Conservative government spent billions of pounds and jacked up interest rates to defend the currency back then, but to no avail. The party’s reputation for economic competence was lost, paving the way for Labour’s big win in 1997.

Hug a politician: the new election strategy

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brown_cameronYou know an election campaign is in full swing the world over when pictures start appearing of politicians kissing babies. But with a general election now just two months away, UK politicians seem to be have found new targets for their displays of affection: each other.

It started with Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling. After stories that the Prime Minister and his Chancellor had fallen out with one another over an interview in which Darling accused Brown aides of having “unleashed the forces of hell” at him, the two popped up at the weekly Prime Minister’s questions almost arm in arm.

Has Alistair Darling done enough to revive Labour’s electoral hopes?

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So how was it for you?

Chancellor Alistair Darling threw the dice in his pre-budget report in an attempt to bolster Labour’s chances of winning the general election in 2010.

From hitting bankers with a one-off bonus tax to lowering bingo duty, Darling played to the Labour heartlands, while hoping to win back voters who have been telling pollsters that they are done with Gordon Brown.

Cash for Trash? Tories offer a recycling sweetner

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BRITAIN/On Tuesday, the Tories, still ahead in the opinion polls and widely expected to gain power in an election, which must be held by June 2010, went on a green charm offensive.

It’s unlikely to steal the election, but it nevertheless got heads turning and newspapers gnashing.

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