Watch out fiscal conservatives – the mood has shifted and the spending taps are on

The Autumn Spending Review announced by the chancellor Sajid Javid barely raised a ripple last week. Yet the increase planned in 2020/21 for what the Treasury calls “day-to-day departmental spending” is the highest for 15 years, no less than 4.1 per cent in real terms. This spending pays the running costs of public services, the […]

The Wolfson Economics Prize 2017 – our shortlisted entry led by Paul Buchanan

Wolfson 2017 logo Finalist

As a niche consultancy with expertise in the planning, economic and financial appraisal of public and private sector transport, the question for this years’ Wolfson Economics Prize “How can we pay for better, safer, more reliable roads in a way that is fair to road users and good for the economy and the environment?” was […]

Brexit was the final straw: it’s time to scrap the IMF

Sports fans will all be familiar with the commentator who almost always gets things wrong. “Arsenal are very much on top here” he – it is invariably a “he” – will pronounce, or “Root is looking very settled”, only for the opposition to score a goal immediately and for the Yorkshireman to be clean bowled. […]

Corbyn is completely out of touch with the real debate about UK austerity

Following the Brexit vote, normal service seems to have resumed. A key question in economic policy since the General Election of 2010 has moved centre stage once again: should the government abandon austerity? At one level, the question has an easy answer. Interest rates are now so low that the UK government can borrow for 30 […]

The coming explosion in natural debt is a serious risk to the economy

Martin Feldstein of Harvard is an economist who should always be taken seriously. Writing in 1997 about the forthcoming introduction of the euro, for example, he argued that “the adverse economic effects of a single currency on unemployment would outweigh any potential gains from trade flows”. He went on to predict that the euro was […]

The IMF is in trouble – and not just due to its poor forecasts

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has played a prominent role in world financial affairs in the post-Second World War period. In the 1950s and 1960s, its main purpose was to support the system of fixed exchange rates. Since then its activities have evolved to embrace developing economies and both banking and sovereign debt crises. The […]

China is drowning in private sector debt: there’s no telling how this one will end

The eyes of the financial and economics worlds are now fixed on China, with focus predominantly on Chinese stock markets and the country’s GDP figures.  A fascinating perspective was provided last week in the leafy borough of Kingston upon Thames.  The university has recruited the Australian Steve Keen as head of its economics department, and it […]

No more whingeing, please. The recovery is solid.

Last month saw some very positive economic news. The US Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time in over seven years.  The Bank of England reported on the major stress test of UK banks which it launched in March 2015.  It concluded that “the banking system is capitalised to support the real economy […]