Our tech advances are difficult for productivity stats to compute

One of the most depressing aspects of the decade of the 2010s, well before Covid-19 struck, was the apparently very slow growth in productivity. This is not a mere ivory tower issue.  It is only through increasing productivity that rises in living standards can be sustained. Productivity is the key measure of the efficiency of […]

For richer or for poorer? The economic case for marriage is worth remembering

An important piece of social news emerged last week. According to the Office for National Statistics, the divorce rate in 2018 fell to its lowest level for nearly 50 years. The overall trend is clear and well-established. The divorce rate rose steadily from the late 1950s, with sharp rises immediately following the Divorce Act of […]

Retailers beware, the online shopping revolution isn’t going anywhere

Another week, another retailer biting the dust. The baked potato specialist Spudulike has closed all 37 of its branches, with a loss of nearly 300 jobs. Shopping centres are undergoing a sudden and dramatic squeeze, with many retailers only able to stay in business if granted a dramatic rent reduction. Last week, Intu Properties, owners […]

Relax, the UK (probably) isn’t heading for recession

Immediate fears of a recession in the UK economy were eased last week with the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimate of monthly GDP. The economy had shrunk in April, but growth resumed in May. This has not prevented widespread conjecture that a recession is imminent. The Resolution Foundation claimed last weekend that the […]

Britain is more optimistic about Brexit than gloomy forecasts suggest

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is up to its usual tricks. Last week, it predicted a two-year recession in the UK in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Even in the main forecast, involving a mild Brexit, GDP was projected to grow by only 1.2 per cent this year and 1.4 per cent in 2020. […]

Emojis are a better metric for wellbeing than traditional data methods

HMRC’s programme to make tax digital continues to roll out. Anyone with a small business will know about the imminent deadline of 1 April, when VAT returns become digital. Quick to seize an opportunity, several companies have developed software to ease the task. The digitisation of tax raises the wider issue of whether technology will […]