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High Speed North – building blocks for the Northern Powerhouse

High Speed North – building blocks for the Northern Powerhouse

An article by leading economist and member of the National Infrastructure Commission Bridget Rosewell. The National Infrastructure Commission launched its third report on 15th March looking the connectivity needs of the Northern Powerhouse.  Recommendations include improving the key rail link between Manchester and Leeds which is at

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from golf to GDP, why unlikely events confound forecasters

from golf to GDP, why unlikely events confound forecasters

Life imitates art, as the sporting world has shown this week. The Grand National was won by a horse which had never previously won a steeplechase. The US golf Masters was won by Danny Willett, who nearly did not take part at all because of the birth

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Bank bail outs are no model to follow for British steel

Bank bail outs are no model to follow for British steel

The potential closure of the Tata steel plants, and the plight of Port Talbot is a tragedy for those directly affected. A key question is: if the banks could be saved, why not steel?  From a purely political perspective, the topic has legs.  The loyal, hard working

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Scotland’s fiscal fantasy and the impact of an OUT vote

Scotland's fiscal fantasy and the impact of an OUT vote

A short visit to the Highlands last week was refreshing. The scenery is just as spectacular as ever, and the people just as welcoming.  But elsewhere, the tectonic plates are shifting.  Last week, a televised debate took place amongst the political leaders contesting the elections to the

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How technology is driving inequality

How technology is driving inequality

Inequality is one of the major political topics of our times. Rather like a Shakespearean tragedy, the current splits in the high command of the Conservative Party have many themes. But an important one, and the ostensible reason for Iain Duncan Smith’s resignation, is the treatment of

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Why we are much better off than the official statistics say

Why we are much better off than the official statistics say

The oldest surviving map of Britain was created in Canterbury a thousand years ago. Our ancestors had a good idea of how to get around. The country is depicted in its familiar shape. Understanding of the world outside Western Europe remained sketchy for centuries.  The phrase ‘here

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

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

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A radical idea for reviving the North

A radical idea for reviving the North

The Head of OFSTED, Sir Michael Wilshaw, warned last week that secondary schools in Liverpool and Manchester were ‘going into reverse’. Too many pupils in Northern towns and cities are simply not prepared for the next phase of their education, training or employment. In Liverpool, for example,

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What game theory tells us about David Cameron’s EU deal

What game theory tells us about David Cameron's EU deal

Game theory is the study of how rules and tactics affect outcomes, and it is pervasive in academic economics. The opening sentence of one of the economics courses at Cambridge pontificates: “Optimal decisions of economic agents depend on expectations of other agents’ actions”. Translated into English, this

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Ticket prices, fairness and behavioural economics

Who wants to watch the Scousers play football? Certainly no Mancunian, and probably no self-respecting Londoner either. Yet demand for tickets at Anfield, the home of Liverpool FC, is high. Indeed, there is excess demand: more people want to watch the games than there is room for

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