The recovery and the squeeze

 

It may not feel like it but we are now in the third year of the economic recovery.  The Stock market hit bottom at the end of the first quarter 2009. By 2010 there was  moderate growth, which has continued with the interruption of the last quarter of 2010, variously blamed on the bad winter weather and problems with calculating construction output.

People never feel really good about the economy unless it is overheating and things are clearly strong, as in 2006-7.  This recovery has been slower than many, owing to the long shadow cast by too much borrowing in both the private and public sectors in recent years.  In the west generally it seems likely growth will be slower than in the build up to the Credit Crunch, as people, companies and governments battle their debts.

This week there was bad news about gas prices, and more bad news about food prices. These basic purchases are going up in price too quickly, keeping the inflation rate high. This in turn is increasing the private sector squeeze. Wages and salaries remain under control, so people are finding it more difficult to budget as it becomes dearer to feed and heat the household.  This in turn cuts demand for the luxuries and nice to haves, as a bigger proportion of the typical income goes on the basics. The inflation coupled with VAT and other tax rises means a substantial squeeze on the private sector, which is slowing down recovery. It illustrates that keeping public spending and borrowing  high has a price as many have to pay higher taxes to pay for it and for the accelerating interest payments on the growing debts.  The Coalition forecasts  £32 billion a year extra of debt interest by 2014-15, which has at some point to be found from  taxes.

It seems likely that central London is once again performing much better than the rest of the UK. Demand for homes and office accommodation is strong. Empty space is being filled, rents are going up, capital values are in  many cases in the central districts higher than in the market peak of 2008. The city feels busier. Taxi drivers, hoteliers and restauranteurs are  not complaining so much about business levels. Whilst there is some domestic recovery, the property agents report the importance of foreign buying in the higher price ranges for central London residences. After the big devaluation of the pound London property seems cheaper to buyers from overseas than it is to tax paying UK citizens paid in pounds.

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36 Comments

  1. Mike Stallard
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    There is so much to reform, so much to do.
    But, yes, the heat is going out of the cut backs (so called) and out here in the Fens, tranquillity seems to be coming back.

  2. lifelogic
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Indeed London is picking up main due to overseas money or money made and taxed overseas or in protected industries not fully exposed to international competition. Projections for the costs of the EU show it is due to rise to £700 per household (working retired or unemployed households too) so pretty unlikely UK business will ever be able to compete internationally in very much with the huge UK state to feed too.

    Now that we have had the benefit of the Bishop’s expert opinions on how to run the NHS perhaps he should give us his opinions on the design of jet engines, nuclear power stations or bridge design – surely his belief system gives him something useful to contribute here too.

    • lifelogic
      Posted June 10, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      Sorry Archbishop.

      I read of yet more back door tax increases on top of the non car insurance (as not being used) SORN type fines, they now seem to want to increase late tax return fines from £100 to £1300!

      How will anyone on an average income say £25,ooo ever manage to get to work, cloth themselves, eat, pay council tax, £700 to the EU, tax, NI, pension, rent and the rest – let alone for their family?

      Best to move or just not to bother to work I suppose most will conclude.

      • lifelogic
        Posted June 10, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

        Manufacturing figures -1.5% last month, industrial output -1.7% too despite the huge devaluation.

        Certainly Cameron-Heath’s policies seem to be acting exactly are one might expect.

      • Simon
        Posted June 10, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

        Quite right .

        The sums just do not add up .

        Even someone with earnings at the start of the higher tax rate threshold is not going to be able to earn enough in their lifetime to pay for accomodation and old age , especially if they have periods without work .

        Looks to me like the cost of living has expanded to consume whatever discretionary income is left .

        The energy cartel have been given carte blanche to stiff British customers . Why won’t our M.P’s threaten to revoke their licenses ?

        If people were saving what they should be to pay for their old age , then things like rents/house prices would become much cheaper .

  3. Alison Granger
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Well I’m glad you’re all doing so well in London. As for the rest of the country- there is no “recovery”. Politicians and the media keep going on about it but never explain recovery to what? Another enormous bubble? Ever rising house prices? If by “recovery”you mean rising prosperity for most people then it’s not going to happen with current policies.

  4. Paul H
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    So the Tories are continuing Labour’s policy of throwing the country open to the highest foreign bidder (often highly undesirable individuals), reducing UK citizens to second-class citizens in their own land?

    • APL
      Posted June 11, 2011 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      Paul H: “(often highly undesirable individuals)”

      Who take government sweeteners to buy a strategic industrial plant in Redcar, then take more government sweetners to mothball the plant laying off the workers in the name of the Green mania.

      That’s our professional political class for you!

  5. Javelin
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Well the recovery may happen un the City but the taxes will be moving to the US or Switzerland or HK. The Tobin tax has just been voted for by the EU Parliament. The hedge fund where I work has already moved a lot of Staff to Switzerland. I can’t see HSBC staying in the UK – knowing the attitude amongst management this will be a last straw on their back.

    I think what’s important to understand is the frailty of the markets has been brought about by the CDS Market. Having worked at the Center of the CDS team in the large investment bank that didn’t lose their shirt I can say that. The current crisis in Greece is only a crisis because it will cause a French bank to default. Whether CDSs are useful is irrelevant they are Instruments of Mass Destruction. To link a financial instrument with an action (defaulting) that can cause the same action (defaulting) with it’s seller is financial madness. The fact a French bank has sold so many CDSs on Greek debt that it will bankrupt itself is in my mind verging on a criminal act by the directors.

    A simple rule should be pit in place that the total obligations on the top (10?) CDS reference entities (ie who they are insuring) should be backed by capital in the bank that can be freed within 30 days. That way if there are a number of defaults then there will be no contagion.

    The Tobin tax will damage the UK economy Mainly because when the public realise the banks are paying their taxes abroad yet posing a potential risk to our economy the public will become even more hostile to them and a downward spiral will commence.

    If Cameron wants to turn this situation to his advantage he needs to go on a very public warpath on Greek debt, the EU, CDSs and French Banks. He needs to make it clear the European regulators have failed utterly and risked the whole EU economy (and that is an understatement it could be the global economy). The key point here is (and I read this) Greece has been in default for more than half the years it has been borrowing, French banks stand to go bust if they default. The EU has stood by whilst Greece has racked up crippling debts. The EU cannot now turn round and ask for a tax to repair the damage that they themselves have done.

    • StevenL
      Posted June 11, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      The fact a French bank has sold so many CDSs on Greek debt that it will bankrupt itself is in my mind verging on a criminal act by the directors.

      I have no idea on French law, but in the UK we have ‘fraud by abuse of position’. Basically, if you are in a position of trust where you are expected to safeguard or not act against someone elses financial interests, and you dishonestly abuse that position for your own gain or to place them at risk of loss, you are guilty of fraud.

      I’m led to believe all company directors are expected to safeguard their shareholders and creditors. The fact that no one seems to have been investigated for fraud as a result of the banking crisis seems a little odd if you look at the relevant statutes and prosecution policies.

  6. Christian Wilcox
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    So, basically, recovery is stalling and the bills are going up.

    You build your way out of a recession. Schapps has some housing going now ( thankfully ), but where is the education for the skills of tomorrow?

    Broken Britain is real. But the mechanism to fix it was already in place and just needed focussing on these areas. Train For Gain, EMA, The Colleges, and Uni for a few. Empowering people to climb out of the hole they were stuck in.

    You’ve axed it all.

  7. wwaramess
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    There is no recovery just some money being dumped into the economy and interest rates held at an artificially low level, helping to support a broken housing market, which itself helps to artificially pump up consumer demand.

    London looks a bit better because of the gravitational pull from the regions. As the country becomes weaker companies either go out of business or move to where business is brisker.

    After 3 years of rampant Keynesian and monetarist solutions is it not about time our masters started to wonder why the economy is still in the state it is; should they not start wondering if they have committed the same mistakes as Japan and should they not now be considering a different approach?

    • Caterpillar
      Posted June 10, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

      “London looks a bit better because of the gravitational pull from the regions. As the country becomes weaker companies either go out of business or move to where business is brisker.”

      Hopefully it is not the same as the dynamic in fish stocks – both the fish cluster and the trawlers – and then no more Newfoundland cod.

    • Simon
      Posted June 10, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

      When you remove all the debt and everything it artificially supported there really isn’t much left .

      To claim that we have had 3 years of Keynesian solutions suggests the solutions have not been Keynesian at all doesn’t it ?

      Surely a Keynesian solution would have started long before that and ensured we built up a surplus in the good times and stopped the thing overheating in the first place .

      Sorry but I don’t think it is right to sully the name of someone who is unable to defend himself and would surely not have approved of what was/is being done in his name .

  8. alan jutson
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Yes, a lack or lowering of disposable income is causing a problem for many.

    The Governments green stealth taxes on fuel (some sugest £200 per household per year) to promote yet more windmills, and solar power with expensive feed in tarriffs and the like does not help, it is creating an industry reliant on subsidy, which will collapse when the subsidy ends.

    This will be an interesting year, given it will be the first year of the so called “big cuts” in government spending.
    Will we see expenditure really reduce or will it still just be a slower increase !

    Will the government accept increases in the EU Budget yet again.

    The proof of the pudding ……..

  9. Caterpillar
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    28 months of an historically low emergency interest rate does not indicate any confidence that a recovery is underway. The negative real interest rates act as a ‘tax’ on cash assets which is redistributed to banks/debtors/government without any political debate.

    It further does not allow an improved culture towards money to recover alongside the economy. The independent ‘virtuous saver’ is now more than ever pushed as a sign of wrong doing, whilst the over consumer, over indebted, live for the next half hour is bailed out and encouraged. This is a muddled rebalancing. Recovery also requires a recovery of individual outlook, the Government and its agent the Bank of England clearly do not wish for this to happen. Given the underlying cause of the recession, it is absurd to talk of recovery without having policy aligned to recovering this outlook. We all know that feedback is important in education and the feedback being given now is simple, if you have overconsumed you have done the right thing, if you have been prudent you have done the wrong thing. What recovery?

    Another indication of a recovery might be a restrengthening of the national currency and # of international purchasers of governemnt bonds. Neither of these indicators are looking too good, and this might be connected with the aforementioned failure.

  10. Steve Cox
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    The 2011 deficit is forecast to be £163 billion, or 11.1% of GDP. In other words, one pound in every nine that is being spent in the UK this year has not been earned but has instead been borrowed. Perhaps if a substantial proportion of the deficit was being used to fund capital investment which would improve our future productivity and competitiveness, there would be some justification, but sadly it is being frittered away by the Coalition in pretty much the same manner that Labour would have done if they had remained in power. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

    Is all this unproductive borrowing really an effective way to get the economy growing again? I don’t believe so. One way of looking at it is that, due to the borrowing and credit surge in the middle years of the last decade, official statistics indicated that Britain’s economy was around 10% larger than it was in reality. This gave us and the government a great feel-good factor at the time, but as we now know to our great cost, that economy was built on sand. Even at the peak of the boom, the government was still running a £30 billion annual deficit, which was complete madness. So when the banks and other institutions withdrew most credit lines (largely due to government insistence on them holding greater capital and reserves), and private companies and individuals suddenly found it much more difficult to borrow, the government stepped in to fill the gap as it could still borrow as much as it wished, even if by immoral and underhand means such as QE (aka magicking money from thin air). So that £30 billion quickly ballooned to £180 billion. The difference, roughly 10% of GDP, is the ‘unreal’ part of the economy that resulted from excessive borrowing. This is still going on, but now the excessive borrowing is almost entirely by government instead of being a mix of government and private sector borrowing as it was pre-2008. Instead of accepting that the apparent size of the UK economy prior to the financial crisis was illusory, and allowing it to shrink in a Darwinian manner to its natural, healthy size, both the previous incumbents and the Coalition are intent on maintaining the illusion no matter what the cost. Hence the recovery, such as it is, is also built on sand, and we are merely sowing the seeds of the next crisis. Once more, plus ça change…

    • D K McGregor
      Posted June 11, 2011 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      A very astute observation , I hope that someone in government sees the folly you illustrate.

  11. MickC
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Yes, London seems to be recovering quite nicely. However, London is not Britain, (a point usually not understood in the Westminster bubble), which, if anything is getting much worse (e.g. the latest retail figures).

    Until such time as the money supply position is sorted out, (Banks not lending, even for well established businesses, taxes too high), there will be no meaningful recovery for the British people. The zombie banks have effectively turned the UK “Japanese”-and their lost decade is now 20 years or so. We can expect similar.

    • Javelin
      Posted June 11, 2011 at 5:56 am | Permalink

      I dont agree that London is improving. One of my measures is that I get a cab every day from Waterloo over to the hedge fund. You get a range of cabbies from grumpy or resigned, but in the past 4 months I’ve not had a cabbie who says they are busy.

      My informal cab survey says the following 1) companies are not paying for cabs 2) petrol prices are high and fares have not gone up 3) more people work from home on a friday 4) people tele-conference more 5) much less pickups from gentlemens clubs 6) the hotels in London are not getting as much business people because people are going to the Far east to do their business 7) Boris bikes.

      So it seems to be a combination of a) responses to energy costs and b) business being done else where.
      So

  12. Javelin
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Given the economy of the Eurozone is at risk, this is my solution to the CDS crisis.

    Back in the bad old days (17th Century) of insurance people use to take life assurance out on a person with whom they had no “insurable interest”. For example on the King. Effectively gambling on another persons life.

    The 1774 Life Assurance Act (and extended to Ireland in 1866) and is *STILL* in force. It clearly covers both lives and *events*. A law against gambling on Marine accidents had already been passed.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_Assurance_Act_1774

    The Act is very short.

    Section 1 sought to deal with these abuses by stipulating that henceforth no assurance was to be made on the life of any person or persons, or on *any other event*, where the person for whose use the policy was made had “no interest” in the matter, or if it were clearly done for the intent of “gaming or wagering”, and that any assurance made contrary to this requirement was deemed null and void.

    Section 1 basically says you have to prove you have a legitimate interest – in other words you cannot insure for more than the value of your risks.

    Section 3 stipulated that, in all cases where the insured party had a legitimate interest in the life or event, they did not recover more than the value of their interest from the policy, guarding against the related abuse of deliberate overinsuring.

    So section 3 says that nobody can recover from a CDS more than their legitimate interest.

    So I believe that the CDS market has ignored this law and that the way out of the mess we find ourselves in the Greek Debt saga is for anybody claiming money for a CDS default needs to show that they had a legitimate interest in that reference entity for the sum of the amount they are insuring. There is no need for more laws or regulations.

    The UK regulators need to clarify this and tell all buyers of CDSs that they need to prove their legitimate interest if they wish to claim aganist a UK bank.

    • Simon
      Posted June 11, 2011 at 12:31 am | Permalink

      Completely agree .

      Thanks for digging up the laws to enforce it .

      If a CDS was classified as an insurance policy , and not a gambling bet , then that would outlaw multiple insurance and insuring things against risks where you are not exposed to losses .

      On the other hand if a CDS was classified as gambling debt then it would be a “debt of honour” and could not be brought before a court for enforcement .

      We need the best of both worlds so that the legal profession cannot make a field day out of it .

      Those principles of insurance are accepted internationally so your proposal could well be applied internationally – if there was political will .

      Aren’t the state owned banks still being allowed to write new CDS ? Including synthetic ones with the taxpayer being on the hook for unlimited liability ?

      I don’t think you have to look very far to find a high profile cases where an underwriter wrote bad CDS business with a bank with the intention of defrauding the re-insurer , yes you’ve guessed it , the only reinsurer who would entertain such a claim – the taxpayer (but in a different part of the English speaking world) .

      Is that stretching a case too far Javelin ?

      The only growth business we seem to have left in the West is about getting your hands on taxpayer subsidies and bailout money .

    • Gary
      Posted June 11, 2011 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      What’s wrong with having a fully funded insurance, 100% reserves ? Given that, I can see no reason for derivatives whatsoever ?

  13. EJT
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    There is always a limitation in using a single metric – stock prices, GDP, whatever – and equating it with “growth”.

    At present, the most relevant trend for most people is stagflation – basic consumable prices rising much faster than wages.

  14. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Inflation. Let’s get the emphasis right. The general price level is rising because the BoE has (and is) increasing the money supply too fast and HM Government is turning a blind eye. Individual prices move up more or less within the overall aggregates.

    There is no such thing as cost push inflation, only demand pull.

  15. forthurst
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Why are foreign purchasers of British properties not taxed for the privilege? What about nationals who own properties which are not their main residence? Second homes are a luxury; second homes blight by creating ghost towns off season, pricing out locals and depriving locals of income from trade; would it not benefit owner occupiers in competition with buy-to-letters etc, second home owners, if freeholds were taxed with 50% discounts available to owner-occupiers of main residences? If taxing freeholds encouraged owners of freehold flats to sell to the leaseholders that would be to the good as well.

    • wab
      Posted June 10, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

      You are confusing holiday homes with buy-to-let. Holiday homes might be deemed evil (at least amongst the Envious Class), but you would be pretty daft to view the rental market as evil. Believe it or not, some people want to rent (e.g. in my town many people are here for only a few years and do not want to buy).

      Why would you want to tax people who live in rented accommodation twice what people who live in their own homes are taxed (and it is the people who rent the house, not the owner, who pays the council tax)? This is in effect what you are proposing, and it just beggars belief. Hopefully the people who work in the government have a slightly more sane understanding of how the world works.

      • forthurst
        Posted June 11, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

        How by proposing a tax on freeholds would I be “confusing holiday homes with buy-to-let”‘? I highlight the problems that holiday homes can cause in their locality, which you avoid in favour of merely infering that they represent a problem only for the ‘Envious Classes’ which disingenous to say the least.

        did not suggest that private landlords were a bad idea in principle, and it is a non sequiter to deduce that because a leaseholder, as householder, is liable for council tax, that he would be therefore be liable for a freehold tax. It may well be that landlords would attempt to pass that tax onto tenants as a component of their total cost of ownership; however, ultimately supply and demand determines the price level and I believe the effect of the tax would be to bear down on house prices, in general, whilst providing an alternative source of easily collectible revenue, and at the same time putting would be owner-occupiers at a cost advantage in competing for those properties which are not more suitable as rental accomodation.
        I believe professional private landlords who understand the market and are there for the long term offer a valuable service; its the others whose activities need to be discouraged.

  16. Damien
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    In addition to rising food and gas prices was the failure of OPEC to agree to increase supply. Brent Crude has shot up to $119 and is projected to go higher. The price of Brent Crude has risen from $70 a year ago and over 25% since January 2011.

    The US senators are now discussing a tax holiday for employers to encourage them to take on new employees. If such a proposal was implemented here it would dovetail well with the governments drive to get 1 million back into employment.

    Home prices have steadied in London but there is more evidence that households are struggling ; “The FSA disclosed to The Telegraph that, between the onset of the financial crisis in the third quarter of 2007 and the final three months of last year, the value of interest-only mortgages increased by £99bn and the number of borrowers rose by 369,370”
    By moving to interest only mortgages households can save on average £230 per month. The FSA is concerned but accept that some forbearance is acceptable in this period.

    The weak pound is benefiting overseas buyers of London property and should be assisting exports however given that we are net importers there is little tangible benefit to the wider economy.

    Meanwhile the Greek problem remains to be resolved. Any restructuring of bondholders debt would leave the ECB exposed as it holds one third of Greek toxic debt. Poor election results mean that Germany is calling for private bondholders to join any restructure even though they and France also hold one third of greek debt.

    The outcome of the stand-off between the ECB and Germany will impact on the value of the euro. Germany would prefer a weaker euro to boost exports.

  17. Neil Craig
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    The 3rd year of a “recovery” dependent on borrowing the equivalent of 12.5% of GNP and pretending interest rates are 0.5%.

    A real recovery is possible depending on us being competitive which depends on having inexpensive power and economic freedom and low business taxes. With that we could not just recover but fly.

  18. Scottspeig
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    I hope the government will not see the pick-up in London and assume its everywhere! As I’m in the private sector, I haven’t had a pay rise for 2 years running, and have noticed a large increase in my shopping bills (essentials such as food has increased 40%) and petrol is becoming high enough that I’m having to share journeys in order to take them!

    I also don’t expect a pay rise this year as the company I work for is plodding along with only enough work for 4/5 of the week (we are all on 4 day weeks) and I was hoping that the pick-up would have been a little higher.

    All in all, I’m not complaining (too much) but as long as the govt realise that we don’t all live in London it’ll hopefully pick up soon…

    (As a note, I work for a small business in the construction sector)

    • alan jutson
      Posted June 10, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

      Scottispeg

      You do not state which area of construction you are in, but I can assure you that the area in which my Company (which I am now winding down to retirement) was in the design and build sector, just outside London in the wealthy home counties, over the last threeyears it has suffered a 40% reduction in business, and such a lowering of profit margins on that business that we did win, that it made the decision to work down to retirement very easy and absolutely logical.

      One reallydoes wonder who is going to be left in work to train the youngsters, skilled manufacturing has all but dissapeared locally, and now thousands of skilled people are leaving the construction industry.

      Proper and sustainable recovery, is a long, long way away.

  19. Christian Wilcox
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Your new back to work scheme:

    Yup, great, the front line are going to get pro-active in matching people to jobs. This is great news, but relies on one thing. That people have recent work experience and/ or relevant skills. Basically a functioning CV.

    The thing about Broken Britain areas is that they are VERY poor areas. Most people have few skills. Including the kids. And many have been unemployed for a VERY long time, so will not have up-to-date work experience.

    So how do you get these people up and running, and as such turn these areas around? Kids need to be able to travel to get to more Colleges. You’ve covered that with Goves’ EMA Replacement, as we are talking about the poorest of kids here after all. But… What about the adults?

    No skills and no work experience means you’re going to need a massive training project alongside matching who you can to low-skill and no-skill jobs that become available. Some of these people may even be illiterate. And some may be migrants with little English. We’re talking the absolute bottom of teh barrel here.

    You’ve slashed the colleges. Degrees are now VERY expensive, so even the most gifted of those you save may not be able to get to Uni. And that is even with your discount in tuition fees. Due to living costs and having to live away from home. A 3 year course, living away from home, at 8 grand in tuition fees is about 35 grand of debt by the end ( approx 30 grand in living costs plus 1 year of Tuition Fees ). That’ll terrify people used to 5 grand being a lot. Those that can’t even afford to buy a car new and have to buy second hand.

    Do you see my point?

    Now add to that these areas having no jobs. So those looking for work will have to compete with their neighbouring areas who have the jobs. Richer areas where kids can get to Colleges easier and adults are in work more. So, as well as having to travel more to get to work these Broken Britain adults will also have to compete with fairly well set up neighbours. It is a real uphill battle here.

    With no skills or recent work experience?

    You have to train them. And that means going in, and spending years educating these people. It WILL run at a loss at first, as it will be some time before these people get the jobs and come off benefits and start paying tax. But you have to do it.

    Or you can leave them as is the way Thatcher did. Some areas never recovered from Thatcher and became Broken Britain.

    You’re The Govt. It’s on your head.

  20. Tim
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    The headlines this week suggest that the Government takes 20% of the fuel bills and a further stealth tax of 5%. The former is to subsidise private companies or individuals who have them on their land (like relatives of Messrs Cameron and Clegg) to build windmills and the like to reduce our carbon footprint. What particularly annoys me is that CO2 accounts for 0.036% of the earths atmosphere, is a naturally occurring trace gas from volcanoes, oceans, animals and fossil fuels makes up a small proportion. The science is not proven as was reported in the Telegraph recently, so why are we rushing to wind? Because our masters in the EU say so!! The same EU where we make a £10 billion net contibution for our foreign friends! When are we going to get sensible political leaders again?

  21. zorro
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    I would like to introduce to you the man who is principally responsible for the state of the UK today…..the one and only Gordon Brown. This e-mail tells you all you need to know about his ‘ability’…..http://s.telegraph.co.uk/graphics/viewer.html?doc=202594-doc28

    John, I will not pull you up for your occasional error in spelling. My God, to think that this man assumed responsibility for this country’s future….!

    zorro

  22. Caterpillar
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    When I can stretch the pennies for a coach to London I do agree it can feel rather invigorating, and in the future I would hope the increased rail capacity from London outwards will break the feel good monopoly, indeed the sooner better.

    Nevertheless, out here in the Midlands, I was disappointed when the national stadium returned to Wembley and the England (so called) footie team reduced its touring. Now, although some of the buildings housing the collections in London are great in themselves, I would really appreciate it if the histroy and art displayed – free at the point of consumption – in the galleries and museums of London were relocated to Birmingham. There will, hopefully, be the increased rail capacity to London, and eventually to Manchester – the air in London has already been Heathrowed and the educational resource and undertanding in these institutions, as well as the tourist DM, could really benefit the Midlands and near North. So in the great rebalancing that the Government could undertake would be to move the national galleries and museums to Brum – the trickle down in money, education, ideas – reignition of the nation, I think would surprise many. (It may even be more effective than Radio 5 going to Salford.)

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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