Many people have written about how the ‘spectre of inflation’ has returned to haunt investors. In fact, the financial markets are still remarkably sanguine, reassured by dovish comments from central banks. This was reasonable in the depths of the Covid recession. Now it looks increasingly complacent. There has already been a sharp rise in government … Continue reading How much should we worry about inflation?
In 2010, Liam Byrne left a note to his successor as Chief Secretary to the Treasury which famously read “I’m afraid there is no money”. After all, annual borrowing had just peaked at a record £158 billion, and the stock of debt was about to top £1,000 billion for the first time. Roll forward a little over a … Continue reading Is there any money left?
Rishi Sunak is warning that a one percentage point increase in the interest rates paid on government debt could add £25bn to the annual debt interest bill. Does this stack up? And how worried should we be? For a start, the £25bn figure is factually correct. There has been some confusion about this on Twitter, … Continue reading Sense checking the Chancellor’s £25bn
I’m relatively relaxed about the fiscal costs of Covid: UK government borrowing will drop sharply as the economy recovers; the increase in the debt burden is manageable; and there’s no need to ‘pay for Covid’ with ‘austerity’ of any kind. (See my earlier blog explaining How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Debt.) … Continue reading Why fiscal responsibility still matters