Category: Applied economics

Does the increase in public debt mean that ‘Tory austerity’ failed?

I’m seeing lots of variations on ‘how can the Tories criticise Labour’s borrowing plans when debt has risen by £800 billion under their watch?’. But while there may indeed be good reasons to criticise the Conservatives' track record on fiscal policy, the increase in public debt is not one of them. It might help to … Continue reading Does the increase in public debt mean that ‘Tory austerity’ failed?

Labour’s ‘free broadband’ would come at a heavy price

The Labour Party has set out plans “to deliver fast and free full-fibre broadband for all by bringing parts of BT into public ownership and creating a new British Broadband public service”. This is bad economics. There is no doubt that the wider availability of broadband would be a ‘good thing’. Indeed, the case was … Continue reading Labour’s ‘free broadband’ would come at a heavy price

Why I prefer the Tories’ new fiscal rules to Labour’s

The latest fiscal pledges from Sajid Javid and John McDonnell are similar in some respects, but very different in others. In short, both the Conservatives and Labour are planning to ramp up government spending, especially on investment, and have proposed new fiscal rules which should allow them to do so. However, Labour’s plans are much … Continue reading Why I prefer the Tories’ new fiscal rules to Labour’s

What would Boris’ deal mean for the economy?

According to Brexit pessimists, the UK economy is already as much as 3% smaller than it would have been if the UK had voted to remain in the EU, and the deal that Boris Johnson’s government has negotiated could reduce GDP by another 7% over the next ten years. Fortunately, neither of these numbers stands … Continue reading What would Boris’ deal mean for the economy?

Yellowhammer misses the mark

After a lot of hype, the Operation Yellowhammer briefing has failed to substantiate the warnings of 'chaos' if the UK leaves the EU without a formal Withdrawal Agreement. The published report appears to be an honest attempt to identify the potential risks of a no-deal Brexit, in order that the government can prepare for and … Continue reading Yellowhammer misses the mark

No, this still isn’t a ‘sterling crisis’

The recent slide in the pound against both the dollar and euro has prompted talk of ‘meltdown’ and ‘free fall’. Some commentators have already called this a ‘sterling crisis’, and speculated about what Tory politicians would be saying if it were happening under a Labour government. Even the normally sensible Conservative MP, Sam Gyimah, has described … Continue reading No, this still isn’t a ‘sterling crisis’