Category: Fiscal Policy

The Digital Services Tax is a terrible idea

Digital taxes are clearly a popular way for politicians to tap into hostility towards the tech giants. The Conservatives seem determined to press ahead with plans for a 'Digital Services Tax' (DST) and the necessary legislation is already in the latest draft Finance Bill. Labour and the Liberal Democrats would go even further. But the DST … Continue reading The Digital Services Tax is a terrible idea

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?

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

Why we should cut tariffs, whether others follow or not

On the morning of 13th March the government confirmed that it intends to eliminate 87% of tariffs on goods imported into Britain, but only if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, and only for an initial 12 month period. This plan therefore raised just two cheers from me. However, as I write this, … Continue reading Why we should cut tariffs, whether others follow or not

Is the UK economy £100bn smaller because of austerity?

In a thought-provoking blog for the New Economics Foundation (NEF), Alfie Stirling has made the striking claim that the cumulative effect of austerity since 2010 has been to reduce the level of UK GDP in 2018/19 by 4.7%, or almost £100 billion. This is equivalent to “around £1,500 for every woman, man and child this year alone”.  … Continue reading Is the UK economy £100bn smaller because of austerity?