UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

Treasury tables challenge notion of a ‘progressive’ spending review

BRITAIN-SPENDINGDuring his speech to the House of Commons announcing how he would cut government spending, Chancellor George Osborne insisted that the richest 10 percent of Britons would bear the brunt of austerity measures.

But a glance at the tables in the Treasury’s own Spending Review report suggest a different picture.

Chart B.5 on page 99 of the report shows that – taken on its own – the Spending Review, which includes benefits and welfare cuts, will affect the poorest 10 percent of the population the hardest. Only by including Budget measures do the top 10 percent come off worst.

The Conservatives have pushed aggressively the notion that ‘we’re all in this together’, but, as public service cuts bite and jobs are lost, fewer and fewer people may be convinced.

Is there a Plan B for the government?

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BRITAIN-BUDGET/

Our Reuters/Ipsos MORI poll is likely to make cheery reading for Britain’s Labour party.

For the first time since January 2008, they are level pegging with the Conservatives in terms of popular support; for the first time since May’s general election, more people are dissatisfied with the government than are pleased with it, and – perhaps most heartening of all for the opposition – three-quarters of the public would rather see slower public spending cuts than swift ones. And all that without Labour even having a leader.

Send in questions for city minister Paul Myners

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BRITAIN-MYNERS/

City Minister Paul Myners is among a handful of people with first-hand experience managing the financial crisis over the past year.

On Dec. 16, at 9 a.m. British time, Myners will deliver a speech at an exclusive Thomson Reuters event in London on a proposal the government says will strengthen the City’s role as a global investment banking hub. He will also announce a series of policy measures designed to enable an effective resolution for failing firms.

What do you think of Osborne’s bank bonus proposal?

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BRITAIN-OSBORNE/Shadow Chancellor George Osborne says British retail banks should be stopped from paying big cash bonuses and use the money instead to support new lending.

“I am today calling on the Treasury and the FSA to combine forces and stop retail banks — in other words the banks that lend directly to business and families — paying out profits in significant cash bonuses,” Osborne said during a Reuters newsmaker event.

from The Great Debate UK:

Send your questions to Alistair Darling

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darlingDo you have a question you would like to ask Chancellor Alistair Darling? Now is your chance.

At 1:30pm British time on Wednesday, October 21, Reuters is hosting an exclusive Web 2.0 interview with Darling and we want you to send us your questions to put to the top man from the Treasury.

What if it’s not the economy, stupid?

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Gordon Brown is counting on a swift economic turnaround. It’s probably his Labour Party’s only hope of avoiding a humiliating electoral defeat to the Conservatives next year.

The latest news on the economy has certainly got people in Downing Street smiling. The housing market is stabilising and some commentators are even talking about Britain becoming the first major country to pull out of the recession.

from Funds Hub:

In the brown stuff

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The unfolding crisis in British politics makes for fascinating viewing for the populace and great work for journalists, but it also of course has potentially far-reaching implications in the financial sector.

rtr248cnAs cabinet ministers resign and Labour MPs call for Gordon Brown to step down, several outcomes now distrinctly possible -- Brown stays, a new Labour prime minister emerges or a general election is called and (if polls are correct) the opposition Conservatives win. The future direction of UK government policy is far from clear.

Energy windfall tax — lifeline or legalised piracy?

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filling-up-danchung.jpg A union leader has called for a windfall tax on oil companies after BP reported a big rise in profits.

Supporters say this “Robin Hood” tactic would help hard-pressed households struggling to meet eye-watering energy and petrol bills.

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