Autumn Statement

The forecasts could have been worse. The OBR has now raised its forecast for growth in 2016 to 2.1%. That’s a higher figure than prior to the referendum vote. The OBR has also confirmed that it does not expect a  recession this winter following the vote to leave the EU, despite the Treasury and Bank suggestions of an early recession should the public vote us out of the EU.  It is also good to see they now forecast the same rate of growth for 2019 as before the vote, though that is the year when we  might well actually leave. So far I find myself in complete agreement with the OBR and Treasury.

Where we still disagree is over their forecast for 2017. The OBR now says growth next year will fall to 1.4%. It is difficult to see why. All the current indicators suggest an economy that will continue to grow around the 2% rate, as they forecast last March. Consumer spending  and confidence are strong. New housebuilding is accelerating. New car output and sales are good. Money and credit are growing more quickly than before the vote.

The government has decided to ignore the increased borrowing thrown up by the lower growth forecast, which is sensible of them. It has also decided to boost total public spending. This Parliament it is adding £46.1bn to the spending total, averaging around £13bn a year after this year. Much of the increase goes on capital investment, with increased spending on new homes, on road and railway lines, broadband, and hi tec, R and D and venture capital activities.

The budget judgement adds a small fiscal stimulus to the larger monetary stimulus which was happening anyway before the Bank’s injection of more bond buying.

A fuel duty freeze is paid for by a 2% increase in Insurance Premium Tax.

This Statement seeks to boost UK productivity by government infrastructure provision and by direct investment and intervention. Its success will hinge on choosing good public investments that produce a return and boost productivity, and on removing transport and communications bottlenecks for the private sector. There needs to be substantially more infrastructure investment, which will require private capital on top of the public sums identified in this announcement.

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52 Comments

  1. ian wragg
    Posted November 23, 2016 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    The growth next year is just a computation of the increase in population plus the effect of government borrowing.
    Gideons whole economic strategy was based on increasing the population and it appears Hammond is continuation Osborne.
    Next years immigration figures will be equal too or even more than this year.

    • Mitchel
      Posted November 24, 2016 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      You can’t wind down a Ponzi scheme;you have to keep it going until it collapses.

    • Hope
      Posted November 24, 2016 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      This is another attack on the prudent and middle class. Help to widen the divide for the wealthy and alleged poor expecting the middle to help the poor particularly from the African and European continents. Their living standards from their home countries soaring beyond their wildest imaginations.

      Corporations getting lower taxation, thier workers subsidized by in work tax credits to become universal credit. Wealthy banks and bankers not reformed allowed to charge a loan rate much in access to the interest they pay out. Tax and debt spiraling out of control with no target to balance the structural deficit that was promised to be balanced by May 2015. Tory Treasury mocking Labour last year for borrowing more! How many policies have the Tories copied from Miliband who they mocked? Energy, HS2, etc etc. Tory leadership Commissioned former Labour to undertake pieces of work for the party/govt. The autumn statement that answers the points raised in JR’s blog about the establishment. MPs on £74000 plus additional jobs and expenses. Hammond cut back on in work benefits for ordianary people, how about MPs? Double standards are appalling. No wonder the public wants change.

  2. am
    Posted November 23, 2016 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Gloominess prevailed for the next two years growth. By March they will need revising. That will then leave a choice: save and don’t spend the error or spend it anyway. They need to spend it on low wage earners to feed into demand.
    Similarly the statement should have cancelled the corporation tax reduction and used these monies to increase lowest tax threshold and feed into demand.

    • Hope
      Posted November 24, 2016 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      Where the savings from having a bonfire of quangos? Some could disappear overnight without any loss making savings or money available for Local Authorities. Dull, dul, dull.

  3. Bert Young
    Posted November 23, 2016 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    The Jury is now out on Hammond . I was not impressed . At this stage of the Brexit game a message of encouragement needed to be sent to the public ; from my analysis so far I cannot see any hint of it .

    Government borrowing is dependent on revenues ; history of previous budgets show that when taxation is reduced revenues increase . This message has not got through to Hammond . It is vital that we tell the world that the UK is a very attractive place to be and to do business with – no inference of this sort was made today . Property stimulus has become hide-bound by the excessive level of Stamp Duty ; the knock on effect of this has reduced the level of the housing supply ; again Hammond does not seem to understand this .

    His role as Chancellor ought to heavily influence the approach to Brexit ; he was a staunch “remainer” and , as such , not suited to his job .

    • Mitchel
      Posted November 24, 2016 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      He’s marginally better as Chancellor than he was as Foreign Secretary.Make of that as you will!

    • Hope
      Posted November 24, 2016 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      I note a lawyer has suggested to ignor the Lisbon Treaty and issuing article 50 and to leave by other means.

  4. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 23, 2016 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    A rather disappointing Autumn Statement for the Remoaners, I think.

    • zorro
      Posted November 23, 2016 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

      Very biased coverage on News At Ten by the supposedly independent economics experts called Marina….. Brexit WILL cost us £60bn, less migration will cost tax receipts, debt of £1.9 TRRRRRIIIILLLLIIOONNNN pounds as she very keen to emphasise (so thickos can understand?)….. And do you know what else Rageh? They haven’t even factored in the cost of a Trump presidency…… Then followed by an admission that the forecasts are pulled from thin air yet they spend a full 5 minutes ramming it down the throats of viewers as if it is unassailable fact…..

      I had to get myself off the floor, absolutely creased up….

      zorro

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 24, 2016 at 8:13 am | Permalink

        Same on Sky News, but it had me shouting at the TV …

        • Hope
          Posted November 24, 2016 at 10:43 am | Permalink

          They all forgot to stress these were forecasts by organizations that are discredited and the OBR made a caveat on their forecast that there were cautious about unknowns because of Brexit. Why would they emphasize their caveats pessimistic forecast not forecast an optimistic one about leaving? Have they not considered what opportunities leaving might bring? Not emphasized by the media I note skewed to continue project fear. I presume intended by Hammond as he said he “wrote it”.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 25, 2016 at 10:31 am | Permalink

        Indeed.

        Low paid immigration is clearly a huge net loss anyway. It raises far less in tax than the government spends per household on benefits, schools, health, police, services and general government waste and incompetence.

  5. Mark Watson
    Posted November 23, 2016 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Very weird to see gdp growth revised down to 1.4% in 2017 but back up to trend in 2019 which as you say looks like being the year we leave the eu,thankfully.
    Impossible to see why growth should be down next year and like you I expect a solid 2-2.5%.
    Seems to be little more than a finger in the wind from the obr.

    • zorro
      Posted November 23, 2016 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

      It is nonsense, with the monetary and fiscal policy relaxation recently undertaken, and the expansive economic measures being announced, it is almost impossible that growth will reduce and be less than 2 percent…. By the way, Hammond needs to go….yesterday.

      zorro

  6. Richard Butler
    Posted November 23, 2016 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    BBC Radio 4 headline speaks only of much increased debt and black holes.

    Peston is reporting £200 billion debt increase

    LBC headline is of Alex Salmond saying Brexit will cost each of £1000 feeding into Ian Dales 5-6pm show asking if Brexit is worth the increased debt

    The hysterical biased doom mongering continues apace

    • zorro
      Posted November 23, 2016 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

      Really wall to wall nonsense today on all the main channels along with the Mair verdict on the same day….

      zorro

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted November 23, 2016 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    No vision at all, yet more taxation NI, Insurance, salary sacrifice and other tinkering. More productivity will come from a bonfire of red tape, cheap energy,, lower taxes and getting government out of the way.

    Not endless intervention, tax borrow and piss down the drain like this. What on earth does Hammond know about setting wage levels or running letting agents.

    12% IPT if you want to spare the NHS now too. The total opposite of what is needed.

    A huge wasted opportunity to set a proper direction of travel.

    • Bob
      Posted November 23, 2016 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      Why would Mrs May retain Hammond & Carnage in such crucial positions if she is really committed to Brexit.

      I smell a rat.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 24, 2016 at 7:36 am | Permalink

        I do not expect to escape properly from the EU under T May, even if she wants too she is far too pedestrian. Clearly Hammond is too.

        No one who thinks Hinkley, HS2 and taxpayer grants for expensive & intermittent green lunacy and “lagoons” are good ideas can be trusted on anything.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 24, 2016 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      The only thing I can find to say that is positive about Hammond is that John Mc Donnall and Rebecca Long-Bailey (Shadow Chief Secretary on Newsnight last night) are clearly far worse. Indeed they are off the scale. Needless to say Newsnight also had Polly Toynbee and Mathew Parris on, and are still trying to pin the death of Cox on the remainers

      Tax borrow and piss down the drain, no vision and no understanding of the Laffer curve from Osborne mark II, Philip Hammond, or an even more bonkers approach from the joke that is Labour.

      Yesterday was the time to signal a huge change in policy toward simpler, lower and more efficient, pro business taxation and to start cutting the endless government waste. He deliver nothing but yet more tax increases. Zero vision and endless government waste.and damaging complexity and red tape. With absolutely dire public services too.

      We have a bloated government, a huge PSBR and appalling services too. The NHS is a complete joke killing thousands each month, rationing and delaying treatments for many more thousands.

      Cut government, kill HS2, Hinkley and all the nonsense green subsidies at the very least.

  8. Gone AWOL
    Posted November 23, 2016 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Mr Hammond appears to be a Jobsworth functionary. He answers two questions including your own JR with that ,it, is, his, official- framed job, to listen, to OBR, and in a framed way and act accordingly.Robotic. We’ve all, the ones who believe in our country and doing our job properly,met them. They do their duty as defined by the job description written on paper or as the BoE Governor proclaims his “mandate”

    We need people prepared to do their duty. A duty that a Briton does not require a written order to perform. Mr Hammond falls short. He wants some paper in his doings

  9. John S
    Posted November 23, 2016 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    It is strange that Treasury forecasts are now pessimistic whereas in times gone by they were invariably over optimistic. It all leads me to believe that pressure is put on civil servants to produce forecasts which the Chancellor wants to see.

    • Newmania
      Posted November 23, 2016 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      The upbeat OBR predictions, and in particular the bewildering presumption that Brexit will not do long term harm , are clearly politicised . This is easy to see from the contrasting predictions of the IFS whose impartiality the OBR was originally supposed to import .Not hard to see that Chote simply wouldn’t dare make any judgement call on that in the one party state we currently live in and with the scent of Cameron still about him
      For Brexit to do no long term harm would seem an astonishing result for any number of plain and straightforward reasons

      I must say I do enjoy the question mark over the NHS pensions and the zero interest rates we are keeping .

      That will teach the old to mess up everything for families and the young and business

      • Anonymous
        Posted November 24, 2016 at 8:15 am | Permalink

        I’m younger than you are, Newmania.

        • Anonymous
          Posted November 24, 2016 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

          Your preposterous assumption is that everything is the EU is rosey and is not harming our nation.

      • Mitchel
        Posted November 24, 2016 at 10:46 am | Permalink

        Does anyone remember Frankie Howerd’s Up Pomeii TV series?It used to start with a rambling prologue to camera which was invariably interrupted by the arrival of a raddled old crone,Senna the Soothsayer,crying out “Woe,Woe and thrice Woe” and giving us dire,apocalyptic predictions.

        I must say I look forward to Newmoania’s similar contributions!

        (And Vesuvius in the background was just someone blowing cigarette smoke).

    • zorro
      Posted November 23, 2016 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

      I am afraid that they need little pressure to push those statistics. The truth must be clear for all to see. There is a concerted effort to talk down the economy and precipitate a bad economic situation so that they can formulate some nonsense aided by EU legal eagles to stymy Brexit. They do not want to lose our money and will do ANYTHING to stop it no matter what they may publicly state….

      zorro

  10. acorn
    Posted November 23, 2016 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    I have probably wasted three hours reading the OBR report and the Treasury impact statement. There is no point in listening to the Punch & Judy show in the HoC, the truth for number crunchers, is in the small print.

    Hammond is tinkering with a couple of percent of annual TME (total managed expenditure). He is leaving fiscal policy to go where UK consuming households, and Brexit, want it to go. Like Osborne, he doesn’t understand that a large BoP Current Account deficit, has to be paid by the public sector or the private sector. If the public sector wants to run a budget surplus; then the private sector has to use its savings and credit cards to pay for the net imports. The latter, both have a habit of running out of Pounds Sterling. The public Treasury never runs out of Pounds Sterling.

    Anyway, tinkering with the public infrastructure, with a few supply side sweeties, will employ people; will increase household spending power a little bit, which is good. But; the fastest broadband and the fastest roads, are no good to companies that haven’t got any customers with money to spend.

    The productivity problem, IMHO, is down to what our households spend their money on. If a large part of household income is spent on an overpriced dwelling mortgage that generates no income; and, apart from paying government taxes, they also effectively pay private taxes, in the form of private pension contributions.

    There is a very strong case for nationalising company pension schemes and incorporating them into NS&I savings bonds. The government could pay an interest rate suitable to economic requirements. Forcing little and large companies into running there own pension funds is a maturity problem. A lot of companies fold naturally and new ones are born. Having the legacy of a pension scheme is a problem that is not needed; ask the employees at BHS and many similar neo-Ponzi pension funds. The State machine could take over the job easy.

  11. Juliet
    Posted November 23, 2016 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Autumn Statement favourable to EU people moving to Central London
    – good for …
    – UK businesses importing EU workers on low-wage !!!
    – EU people moving to UK benefit the most
    (low-wage earners, renting, affordable homes, letting agent fees)

    – bad for UK homeowners, over 50s, social care, Greater London

    Was the Autumn Statement an EU directive co-Hammond to insult Leave voters

  12. Nig l
    Posted November 23, 2016 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    You have finally been forced to admit that the so called austerity and fixing the roof when the sun is shining is no more than hubristic b.s. If interest rates go up to deal with inflation your cost of borrowing goes up, demand is taken out and you are even more in a bind. Even now you have put taxes up yet again, this time for all of us who are prudent in taking out all necessary insurances. A million uninsured drivers on the roads, many of whom cannot afford the already massive premiums and you put the costs up. No acknowledgement that that the foreign aid budget is bloated with much wasted. Six weeks ago the minister said that banning letting commissions would have no effect merely being passed on in another way so no more than a political gesture.

    Phillip Hammond could have delivered much if this as a Labour Chancellor and then he would have been attacked, rightly by people like you. For the first time I have moved a vote of no confidence and you have lost 1 – 0!

  13. Richard1
    Posted November 23, 2016 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    It would be good if clearer distinctions could be drawn between good infrastructure investment and bad. Not all infrastructure is good. HS2 on any reasonable analysis is a bad investment. The danger with govt financed capital spending is – because there is no market testing of the price – analyses will always be produced to back-solve into the desired political conclusion. In many cases the govt would be better off not adding further to debt or raising taxes and foregoing vanity projects.

    • Bob
      Posted November 24, 2016 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      HS2 should be abandoned before any more money is wasted on it.
      That would save at least £60 billion (more likely £100 billion with the customary overspend).

      Foreign aid should be restricted to emergency aid only, saving around £12 billion p.a.

      Membership fees for the EU should be stopped ASAP, saving £10 billion p.a.

      NHS spending should be brought under control by restricting free treatment to UK nationals only, and charging for IVF and interventions related to self inflicted body art.

      Subsidies to the bars at Westminster Palace should be removed so that MPs can feel the effect of excessive duties on alcohol.

  14. Anonymous
    Posted November 23, 2016 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    The economic forecast is still being reported badly by the BBC. Brexit is definitely a ‘bad news’ story according to many news outlets.

    • Mitchel
      Posted November 24, 2016 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      Don’t you know there’s a war on!

  15. libertarian
    Posted November 23, 2016 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    Why does the Conservative government & HMRC dislike Freelancers and self employed so much? Do they STILL not understand that the whole job creation “miracle” of the last two years has been entirely driven by this group of people. Do they not see that this “portfolio” way of working is the future. Why if they are so paranoid about a few people saving NI payments by paying themselves dividends ( whilst completely ignoring tax avoidance by mega corps) can they not divide a simple sole trader structure that collects the appropriate tax as a single amount?

    Todays statement could have been delivered by Labour

  16. They Work for Us?
    Posted November 23, 2016 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Time for a private members bill or national petition plus writing to your MP to demand that insurance premium tax be zero rated on all insurances that are mandatory. Car insurance is not a choice, it is illegal not to have it, hence zero rating. There will be others.

  17. MikeP
    Posted November 23, 2016 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    As someone said a few weeks ago (Hannan, Redwood, Aaron Banks, Tim Montgomerie? I can’t remember), Brexit will get blamed for everything from now on. It has become a safe but almost entirely false hiding place to conceal all the country’s and the Government’s other woes.
    I hope that, among others, you John will continue to keep the Government “honest” in this regard and remind them of their consistently poor forecasting and talking down of the country.

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 24, 2016 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      Lately Brexit is being blamed for terror and hate crime.

  18. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted November 24, 2016 at 12:53 am | Permalink

    Well it’s all a bit lacklustre, isn’t it?
    Just suppose we took a trip to another world where we had firm commitments to leave the EU, stop paying the membership fees, use those on building infrastructure, support of UK manufacturing business. Where the opportunities afforded by a weak Pound and the ability to reach trade agreements with the US, Canada, Australia, India and so many others were celebrated. Where Europe was seen in perspective and as an overly regulated zone in a death spiral. Where the opportunities to get in tomorrow to trad freely with Trump’s America were jumped on, not by my old pal Sir Kim Something-or-another, who I am sure is a fine fellow, but by somebody empathetic with the new regime.
    It will take more than a change of faces at the Tory table with Timid Theresa and Downbeat Philip, I’m afraid!

  19. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted November 24, 2016 at 1:31 am | Permalink

    Prime Minister and Chancellor are positions which are nuancing to partnership more than equivalating roles of President and Vice-President. No-one could imagine Cameron minus Osborne, for example.
    Mrs May needs a new Chancellor. He is not going to get her re-elected.She may think so. She may hope so. He may be a wonderful chap and one is sure he is but it is not going to happen.

    In this connection the BoE’s governor Mr Carney who in a Parliamentary committee meeting ( reported in Canadian papers on 15th November) miraculously had comment of Mr Trump ( not a UK MP …No, Mr Trump is not, despite continual out-of-the -box obsessional references to him ) is also a burden on Mrs May’s hopes for election to Prime Minister. Mr Carney’s offer to remain until after Brexit is charitable and one is sure of his best intentions. It will not help her in defeat however when she wonders how she could have failed.

    What American investors call “sentiment” has more to do with success economically than most pundits are prepared to accept. The Chancellor and the BoE Governor are leaden boots on what may call metaphorically a cross-Channel swim back to our Kingdom.

  20. Council of the Wise
    Posted November 24, 2016 at 2:01 am | Permalink

    MEPs recently voted on a resolution which states the EU should “respond to information warfare by Russia.” RT and Sputnik news agency are said to be among the most dangerous “tools” of “hostile propaganda.”

    Only yesterday, my postman said ” Eeeya, gov ( me )”Sputnik says we the proletariat of the world should arise from our slumbers” Of course he didn’t say that and most people, reading this Comment will not know that Sputnik is an online periodical and not something which was launched far in advance of American technology ( at the time )

    The EU, like so many organisations of people sat around all day with nothing better to do, start hyper-ventilating, hallucinating, and come out with EU-tripe.

  21. HappyGoLucky
    Posted November 24, 2016 at 2:13 am | Permalink

    I believe Phillip Hammond provided the inspirational emotional verve behind the song of the late Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne”

  22. Ronald Olden
    Posted November 24, 2016 at 4:39 am | Permalink

    The borrowing figures in the Autumn Statement are horrific. But as ever the problem is too much spending. Tax Revenues in the past month have been better than expected.

    But pro Brexit MPs are wrong to complain that the growth estimate for the next two years are too gloomy and the borrowing estimates are too pessimistic. It’s right to be ultra cautious. But if, as the months and years progress it becomes clear that these forecasts are wrong, it will give us ammunition to fire at the Remainiacs.

    If the figures do turn out to be correct it’s still a better to prepare for the worst. This is no different than what new Boards of Directors do when they take over at a Company and clear out the (allegedly) dirty linen, only to report years later that their own miraculous management skills have solved the difficulties after all.

    And although these debt figures are appalling it’s important to examine what they actually conceal. And extra £122 Billion compared with what was forecast in March will largely, or perhaps entirely be covered by the extra Quantitative Easing (QE) which started after the Brexit Vote. £60 Billion of that is already in progress and it’s not unreasonable to assume that if growth in the next two years is as weak as this, the same will be announced again.

    Quantitative easing money, is money is money that the Bank of England effectively prints. So these figures might imply no extra long term debt at all.

    I don’t for one moment believe that the forecast of National Debt reaching 90.2% of GDP, is correct. But even if it is, some (by then) £500 Billion (it’s £430 Billion already) will be debt the Government owes to itself, via the Bank of England Balance Sheet and can be written off with no loss to anyone.

    That accounting device alone, will bring the National Debt down to nearer 67%. But I also think the growth and the inflation estimates are too low. So money GDP might be significantly higher than is budgeted for by the time this 90.2% figure is reached .Allowing for a QE write off the real figure might ‘only’ be a bit more than 60%.

    The real cause for concern is still the £40 Billion or so ‘Structural Deficit’. That will have to be addressed, either by spending cuts, tax increases, broadening of the Tax Base, or a mixture of all three.

    One thing that made me smile in the forecasts however is the ‘gloomy’ 1.4% Growth estimate for next year. The Remainiacs are saying that this shows we should have voted to stay in the EU. The 1.4% figure however, even if it’s correct, is the same as Germany’s. So our worst year is equal to Germany’s best!!!!!!!

    I’ll settle for that.

  23. stred
    Posted November 24, 2016 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    We seem to be governed by the same team that produced the dire warnings during the referendum ‘project fear’ campaign. Presumably, they use the same economic models and are no more capable of predicting growth or taxation revenue than they were before.

    The BBC had their pro remain line up and included the director of the IFS, the clever people that predicted more unemployment and a cost to families during the referendum. How many of these predictions have been correct?

    https://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/8330

  24. Cheshire Girl
    Posted November 24, 2016 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Some of us were hoping that something would be done about Social Care, which is on the brink of collapse, but we were disappointed. The usual platitudes were wheeled out about Councils being able to raise the Council Tax if they needed to, but it’s not enough. It is predicted that Councils will have to make even more drastic cuts to services than they have already.
    There will always be enough social care for Politicians and highly paid Ministers, who can pay for it. The rest of us will have to take what we can get (if there is any). It’s a disgrace!!!

  25. Antisthenes
    Posted November 24, 2016 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Forecasts are based on number crunching, historic data and best guesses. Best guesses if they are biased by some pessimism are the most reliable. So the OBR’s can be forgiven if they do not meet with our approval. Better the worst case scenario and that do not live up to expectations than full of optimism which falls short. It may annoy us now but if they do not prove as bad as anticipated we will reap the benefits later. Let us hope that will indeed be the case and the remainers can do their gnashing of teeth, throw their toys out of the pram, weeping and retire to their safe spaces.

  26. Tom William
    Posted November 24, 2016 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Why in earth does the government not tax the winter fuel allowance? Given the present allowances this would not affect those on low incomes. For a couple there is no sensible reason for giving them a £200 present even if many then give it to charity.

  27. MvW
    Posted November 26, 2016 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    JR,

    You disagree with the OBR on he forecast for 2017. That’s probably mostly because they are independent group of experts and you are a politician.

    I’m curious what you will state if the forecast by the OBR for 2017 turns out to be on the ‘rosy’ side, which is the more logical interpretation if you consider a larger group of economic experts. My guess will be that will have as much to say about it then as you have now on the fact that the government (led by your party) has, in effect, completely denounced the economic policy of the past 6 years. But it has worked politically for you in the meantime, hasn’t it? And I fear it will again, feeding on the anger-fuelled populism that brexit largely has turned out to be. It is really unfortunate; There were sound arguments on the brexit side, but my goodness they have been completely snowed under by the emotive drive that politicians like yourselves (and those of Ukip, and even half of Labour) now feed on. You word things finely in your blog, but that is still exactly what you do. You’re really quite a dangerous politician in that sense: you give such anger and populism a civilised face, you give brute shouters regarding brexit an endorsement for their s(often fact-averse and heavily emotive) stances.

    Where are the new leaders that truly have integrity? Probably they are voted away and ‘shouted down’ by the Daily Mail etc, , (or, sadly, in one case, assassinated). Where is the UK heading? Are we to become the globally leading post-truth society, perhaps soon trumping (no pun intended) North Korea?

    Politicians like yourselves have an enormous responsibility in resisting dismissing experts’ opinions out of hand. Experts can get it wrong (and, in cases of economists or pollers, largely will), but that is no reason to dismiss them or to think you know better. Just selective listing of some indicators, as you do above, is not an argument. If you have no trust in institutions such as the IFS and the OBR you should have voted against their creation.
    Please could you – in your blogs – remind your following that the OBR is an independent thinktank, and that it has – unlike yourself no ‘political agenda’. And that you are not an economic expert. Same goes for the judges in the High Court and the Supreme Court. And that you are not qualified lawyer.

    Reply I have written about and studied the Uk economy for many years, and correctly forecast the ERM, the Euro, the banking crash and the growth rate in 2016. If you have such a low opinion of my professional expertise and forecasting why do you bother to read this site?

  28. offshore bank
    Posted November 29, 2016 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    Yes! Finally someone writes about offshore banking.

  • 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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