Full employment in Britain has lowered productivity instead of increasing wages

The UK jobs market is booming, as the latest ONS figures show. Unemployment is at its lowest for over 40 years. A record 32.1 million people are in employment, a rise of over 3 million since the financial crisis. Apart from in a few scattered pockets, Britain is at full employment. Usually in such circumstances, […]

Beware the dysfunctional consequences of imposing misguided incentive systems

Lehman Brothers Headquarters

Following the disclosure of salaries at the BBC, it has hardly seemed possible to open a newspaper or switch on the television without being bombarded by stories about pay. By pure coincidence, an academic paper entitled “Pay for Performance and Beyond” has just appeared. So what, you might ask? Except that it is one of […]

Less austerity will always mean more tax

Austerity

There is a great deal of discussion, following the election, of relaxing or even abandoning austerity. There is an equal amount of confusion about this, because the same word is being used to describe two quite separate concepts. The consequences of the government changing its policy on austerity are dramatically different, depending on which one […]

Don’t fear robots taking your job – worry about them cutting your wages

Robot playing ping pong

Robots and artificial intelligence (AI) seem to be in the news all the time, and breakthroughs are announced regularly. Last year, it was an AI programme which beat the world champion at Go, a game immensely more complex than chess. Now, in the austere American journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, comes […]

Forward guidance is just another delusion foisted on us by mainstream macro

The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, was on good form last week when he appeared at the Treasury Committee of the House of Commons. Asked what “forward guidance” meant, he answered smoothly: “The thing about forward guidance is that it is guidance that is forward. Which is not to say it is meant to […]

The people of Burnley and Bradford have a point about the impact of immigration

The scenes as the migrant camp was cleared in Calais once again provoked bitter divisions in British society. Metropolitan luvvies and liberals tweeted their virtue and called for no restrictions on immigration. In more traditional areas, there is active resentment at the possibility of even further inflows of foreigners. When New Labour decided in the […]

Look to Twitter for why Britain’s economy proved Project Fear wrong

The economic data on post-Brexit Britain is beginning to emerge.  We discovered last month that employment in May to July grew by 174,000 compared to the previous three months.  Last week, the Office for National Statistics published its estimate for the output of the service sector of the economy in July.  This shows a 0.4 […]

Volterra supports Paddington Quarter plans

Volterra recently supported Great Western Developments Ltd.’s application to redevelop the former Royal Mail Sorting Office and Post Office next to Paddington Station. The proposed development, Paddington Quarter, includes office, retail and café/restaurant uses across two buildings – an eighteen storey building, Paddington Cube, and a smaller two story satellite building. The scheme also encompasses […]

The blob is wrong: competition and independence raise school standards

The A-Level results released last week confirm the dominance of schools in London and the South East. Provisional league tables have only appeared so far for state schools, but these two regions have two-thirds of the top 100. South Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear, and Wales did not have a single school between them in the […]

Blame Jeremy Corbyn for the increasing number of public sector strikes

The total number of working days lost through labour disputes last year was, at just 170,000, the second lowest annual total since records began in 1891. What a difference a year can make. Southern Rail commuters have endured months of misery due to the prolonged series of strikes called by the RMT. Union members on […]