The IMF would not win an election in the UK

The IMF was one of several international bodies and opinion formers who wanted the UK to stay in the EU. They misjudged that call, misunderstanding UK voters. Now they have issued an update report telling us that we have to take strong policy action to succeed. Their remedy is to abolish the regular increases in the state retirement pension which they think is too generous, and to put through a series of tax increases. They want to hike VAT on heating fuel from 5% to 20%, and to put up taxes on the self employed.

What a bizarre and negative mix. Why do they recommend this? Because they say our state debt to GDP is too high, yet it is very similar to the USA and below the levels in Japan, France, Austria, Italy and some other advanced countries. They fail to recognise that the state has bought in a substantial part of the debt they claim to be worried about.

It is difficult to see how taxing the self employed more would help innovation and economic flexibility. It would hit one of the flourishing areas of UK growth. Nor is it easy to see why pushing more people on low incomes into fuel poverty through a massive tax hike on domestic fuel would be a good idea. Nor does removing spending power from pensioners help promote a faster growing economy. This ticket would never win a UK election, and proves again UK voters are more sensible than the IMF.

The IMF does not even seem to be good at forecasting the UK economy. They were too gloomy about the likely short term impact of the vote. They now make much of the slightly slower rate of growth in 2017 compared to 2016, and blame Brexit. If they analysed the figures better they would see growth speeded up a bit after the Brexit vote, and started to slow in 2017 thanks to action to slow the economy taken by their friends at the Bank of England! The Bank has put up rates, sought to tighten car loans and consumer credit, stopped QE and is now withdrawing special lines of credit to the commercial banks. At the same time the European Central Bank has kept interest rates at zero, has printed a lot more money and has not restrained bank credit.

So could we have a bit more analysis and a bit less policy prescription? Oh, and they do condemn UK educational standards at the same time. No mention of the world class universities in the global top ten.

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131 Comments

  1. Prigger
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    “Their (IMF )remedy is to abolish the regular increases in the state retirement pension which they think is too generous, and to put through a series of tax increases. They want to hike VAT on heating fuel from 5% to 20%, and to put up taxes on the self employed.”

    And how will they stem the resultant brain drain to the USA?
    Our Fake News is already is up to it s varicose veined ugly neck and always has been in putting the prospect of living in North America a no-no. Even lorry drivers there have got a cab the size of John McDonnell’s Daft Fact Box.

  2. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    This is all to do with collapsing our economy so that Brexit is to blame. Just what is going on when the establishment seeks to ruin its own country to prove a point. Someone, somewhere is desperate. We have already learnt that our pensions are the lowest in Europe but now they seek to kill off a few more of us by raising our fuel bills. Hasn’t enough damage already been done with the ridiculous introduction of rip off prices for renewables? Why would anyone want to start up their own business if they were to be taxed more? We are being taxed out of existence now. This is all a big vote loser and I hope Mrs May is not giving it any consideration. I truly despair what is happening to our country in the pursuit of true sovereignty.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      ‘This is all to do with collapsing our economy so that Brexit is to blame’

      – this is completely nonsense. Fantasy. Paranoia.

      Don Quixote: ‘Look there, Sancho Panza, my friend, and see those thirty or so wild giants, with whom I intend to do battle.’
      Sancho Panza: ‘Now look, your grace, what you see over there aren’t giants, but windmills.’

      • Know-Dice
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 11:33 am | Permalink

        May be not totally collapse the economy, but certainly to show the reaming 27 that they are better in than out.

        • Know-Dice
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

          “reaming” !!! 🙁

          Remaining 27…

          • mancunius
            Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

            The Germans who write in droves on newspaper websites how much they envy us for our ‘sensible decision’ and wish they were not constitutionally barred from expressing their own negative opinion on EU membership would not agree with you at all…

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

        Still waiting for an answer to the question I put to you two weeks ago, Ed:

        http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2018/01/30/there-is-no-evidence-joining-the-single-market-boosted-uk-growth/#comment-915911

        “… if this chart of the UK growth rate going back to 1956 had no dates or other indications of time marked on the horizontal axis, or you had no prior knowledge of when the events took place, would you be able to pinpoint when we joined the EEC, or when the EU Single Market was created, on the basis of subsequent improved growth?”

        • zorro
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

          You won’t get one either from the apparently self declared leave voter who supports Brexit…. sort of in his own way 😁

          zorro

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

          @Denis,

          I replied. My comment didn’t get published (not moaning, I expect it – my comment – was boring 🙂

          Again (shorter this time).

          You can’t replace analytical economic argument for numbers. This is exactly what you’re doing which kind of undermines the science (/ art) of economics!

          I’m NO economist. By background is history and high tech. But what i do know is that many factors determine the output of our economy. Yes, being part of the single market is important. But so is:

          1. The state of our productivity
          2. The psyche of the nation (we’ve been struggling to find our identity in the world after losing our empire – v. similar to other ex empires such as Spain. Took til the war of 1898 for the penny to finally drop with them.
          3. Socialism – 1970’s. Particularly bad in the UK compared to say Germany (i think ?)
          4. I’m also critical of some aspects of Conservative policy which hasn’t been ambitious enough in soft investment (pragmatic capitalism as opposed to socialism or ideological capitalism) where the private sector won’t invest but where soft investment will then encourage the private sector to invest. For example, the Israeli government setting up a hedge fund for the Tel Aviv high tech sector – Tel Aviv now flourishing as major world high tech hub. Lots of other examples from other countries of this kind of creative, business-like, savvy soft investment to sew the seeds of private enterprise.

          Best wishes

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

          Also, your chart doesn’t take into account that the UK economy could have sunk if it hadn’t joined the EEC. That’s also a logical conclusion one could arrive out from your chart and approach to it.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted February 16, 2018 at 9:19 am | Permalink

            “could have sunk if it hadn’t joined the EEC”

            And where is the evidence to support that conjecture?

            The chart goes back to 1956 with an average growth rate of 2.5% a year and no evidence at all that the economy was about to sink before we joined the EEC.

            And here is another chart going back to 1949:

            http://brexitcentral.com/does-brexit-mean-cliff-edge-more-shallow-pothole/

            showing the same thing, that:

            “Background noise apart, UK GNP since 1949 has grown at about 2.5 per cent per annum, irrespective of the party in office, regardless of geopolitical events … ”

            There is evidence, then there is superstition.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

        Mmm You talk about fantasy!! I think you might be in the minority as per normal.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

          ‘I think you might be in the minority as per normal’

          – Surely it’s quality of argument that counts over the amount of people who agree or disagree with you?

          (at least, that’s what I was taught at university, in business, and in reading and discussing lots of other subjects with different people)

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted February 15, 2018 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

            Apologies for sounding like a smart alec.
            I don’t mean to wind people up. I have an idea how i would like to see my Tory party and country. I don’t want to step on people’s toes and annoy people.
            BW

      • dennisambler
        Posted February 16, 2018 at 11:41 am | Permalink

        But those windmills are part of the problem. They are unreliable and expensive in subsidies, pushing up energy costs. With the extra VAT on a high cost, energy would be unaffordable by many.

      • Helen Smith
        Posted February 18, 2018 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

        Sadly it is the plain truth, shocking though that is.

    • Mitchel
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      We would like to think so but May is a big supporter of the World Order.Note how she says nothing about foreign billionaires and American Investment Banks when they intercede in our affairs but loves to berate Russia(in so far as she can!) for their alleged efforts.

      • J Gufurther
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

        May cannot be a vodka drinker. If she were she would know there is good in everyone 🙂

  3. duncan
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    Head of the IMF – Christine Lagarde. Pro-EU lackey. French politician. UK hater and a politician at heart and here it seems slandering the UK at the request of the EU. It’s a political stitch-up organised between political buddies

    The IMF is a political organisation. Its concerns are political not economic.

    The IMF do not want the UK to leave the EU and so they issue reports and recommendations that try and damage our economic standing, impact our currency and create a sense that leaving the EU will incite chaos and impose economic harm. It is a subtle form of intervention by Lagarde and no we shall be seeing more of this as we move forward

    What a pity Lagarde doesn’t focus her efforts on the economy of her home nation. A social economy propped up by subsidy. No wonder France as aligned itself with the Germans. They’re looking for a crutch to lean on and the Germans are the perfect solution for the lack of courage shown by the French political class to confront and reform their own rigid, union dominated economy

    The UK needs to slash business taxes, free-up entrepreneurs and inject more energy into the private sector. This is where the UK excels. Wealth comes not from politicians spending our money but from the private sector producing goods and services at a profit. The success lies within that margin generated through productivity gains. Get that right and therein lies success for the UK vis a vis the EU

    You cannot circumvent the fundamental laws of finance. They are as immutable as the laws of gravity. It seems the IMF appear not too understand this

    • Mark B
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      Hear hear.

    • nigel
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      She did focus her attention on the French economy (she was finance minister), and failed to make any meaningful improvements. That’s probably why she was happy to escape to the sinecure of the IMF (reserved for ex French politicians).

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      Not just business taxes but all taxes are far to high and we are regulated to death on top of the taxes. Plus we have artificially expensive energy and the damaging litigation culture too.

      The government spends about 45% of GDP and delivers very little of any real value in return. State sector workers are still paid, with pensions included about 50% more than the private sector worker too. They are even allowed pensions of about twice the size as most have DB ones which are treated more generously on the CAP rules. Others can only have a pot of £1 million maximum.

      • Dunedin
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

        @Lifelogic “They are even allowed pensions of about twice the size as most have DB ones which are treated more generously on the CAP rules. Others can only have a pot of £1 million maximum.”

        This different treatment of defined benefit and defined contribution pensions is a scandal which needs to be addressed. A £50k defined benefit pension meets the £1 million cap (valued at 20x). A defined contribution pot would need to be around £1.8 million to buy the same (with index linking included) and even higher to add a surviving spouse pension.

        • Tom
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

          Indeed huge discrimination mainly against the private sector who general the wealth. Reducing the pension pot cap to £1M was another outrage for the dope at number 11.

          I see he has increase funds for school maths tuition. Hopefully he will go on a course too!

    • acorn
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      As Pro Grey says there is “a profound misunderstanding of how politics and economics inter-relate, a misunderstanding that has permeated British Conservatism since its embrace of Friedman and Hayek in the 1970s.”

      The misunderstanding is that markets exist ‘naturally’ and don’t require any sort of regulation. Regulation imposed by governments can only distort what would otherwise naturally occur. Conservatives have never understood the umbilical connection between politics and economics.

      Unregulated “free markets” either implode because to many sellers are making zero profits; or, a monopoly; at least an oligopoly, emerges to swallow up the market. (The UK electricity market for instance)

      Prof Grey continues. “In fact, regulation is a prior condition for markets, certainly for effectively functioning markets. So whilst it is true to say that the EU (going right back to the original European Coal and Steel Community) used economics as a means of pursuing political goals, it’s also the case that political integration has been a way of pursuing economic goals.

      It seems to have been a continual surprise to Conservative Euro-sceptics ever since the Thatcher government pushed so hard to create the European single market that such a market entails as its prior condition a trans-national legal and regulatory framework, up to and including the ECJ.”

    • dennisambler
      Posted February 16, 2018 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      Right on. The IMF is part of the UN system although they claim to be independent.

      Lagarde was a member of Ban Ki Moon’s “High Level Panel on Climate Finance” after the 2009 Copenhagen UNFCCC conference, along with Lord Stern, Chris Huhne, George Soros, Deutsche Bank and others, seeking to garner $100billion a year for green energy development in developing nations.

  4. Prigger
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    IMF ” …to put through a series of tax increases. ” It is surprising how many American backed global institutions smell of the Democratic Party.

  5. Prigger
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    IMF “…put up taxes on the self employed…” So instead I decide to be self-employed in Trumpland where my tax allowance has just doubled…as payable or rather non-payable two weeks from now. ..and where “setting up a business” is a prime reason why the USA will allow me to go live there.Just who is the IMF working for, the US immigration service?

    • bigneil
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      I’m still waiting for the NHS to employ all these doctors, surgeons etc that are fighting at Calais. They are SO desperate to get into the UK and contribute ( cough cough ).

      • Tom
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

        Indeed that is the BBC view of it all.

  6. Peter
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    The IMF is similar to the World Bank. Both are post war, Bretton Woods, globalist institutions which facilitate economic imperialism.

    The USA has used them to undermine and take control of various countries in South America.

    They push deregulation, liberalisation, privatisation but usually end up in control of the infrastructure of the various Third World countries they have dealings with.

    Not much different to racketeers with a facade of respectability.

    • ChrisS
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      I have little time for the IMF and Legarde’s leadership of that organisation. ( I’m sure she was and remains primarily a brilliant French politician ). It’s telling that she was proposed for the IMF job by our now equally-discredited George Osborne and then used the position to bolster the Euro at everyone else’s expense.

      But I can’t agree with Peter’s assertion that :
      “The USA has used them to undermine and take control of various countries in South America”.

      What has brought the economies of South American like Venezuela to their knees has been Socialist/Marxist economic policies of the type proposed for the UK by Corbyn and McDonnell. These daft ideas have enabled those countries to ruin their economies all by themselves. Corbyn and McDonnell will do exactly the same to us, given half a chance.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

        And right now brexit is giving them all of a chance..

    • acorn
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      Ten out of ten Peter, both organisations are extensions of the US State Dept.

      They are doing a good job in South America, preventing the continent from moving to the left. Particularly the likes of Venezuela, where they push dollar loans, then cripple the economy, so they can’t pay them back. The country then becomes ripe for a US backed puppet government.

      • Edward2
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

        More conspiracy theories.
        The fact the Govt of Venezuela spent ten times what is should have and then some of their elite pushed billions into their own bank accounts followed by a reduction in the oil price is by the by.
        It’s all due to USA
        Hilarious

        • zorro
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

          Plenty of US involvement (overt/covert if you can be bothered to look) in Venezuela over the years and lots of Central/South American countries. I suppose that you would say that EU/US front organisations weren’t involved in 🇺🇦 Ukraine? There a reason why charities don’t begin at home……

          zorro

          • Edward2
            Posted February 16, 2018 at 7:31 am | Permalink

            Plainly the EU were involved in Ukraine.

        • J Gufurther
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

          The USA did change its trading relationship with the socialist government of Venezuela and drastically, by coincidence of course, stopped buying her oil.
          The US famously called the whole of South America “our backyard ” when anyone else wished to trade with any country there or do anything at all there. “Naturally” no country in South America was allowed its own defence policy. Come to think of it..have we got our own?

          • Edward2
            Posted February 16, 2018 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

            USA is close self sufficiency in gas and oil.
            Fracking has reduced USA gas prices by half
            That’s why they stopped needing Venezuela oil.
            And Saudi has carried on pumping despite nations like Nigeria and Venezuela urging them to slow down.
            The lower oil price means that Venezuela has lost large revenues.
            Most of this happened under Obama.

  7. Bulldozer
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    IMF Chief Lagarde delivered a speech last year in which she said with importance that “the bookies” had indicated the result of the Referendum. She thought, quote, “the bookies odds” quote “as analysed by my team” …Well. Ms Lagarde for just those remarks and for ever should not be taken seriously again. In point of fact, she doesn’t know her horses either. Bookies odds are not based primarily on the number of persons betting one way or another but the total amount being gambled. Large institutional punters were pretty sure of a Remain win and had sufficient huge betting money to make a low pay-back relatively higher for them . A poorer gambler forked out his money with the prospects of a greater return if we voted Leave. Ms Lagarde should stick to whatshe knows something about, whatever that could possibly be.
    We are left with the conclusion that big global institutions ( experts ) know little about how money actually works and about the nature of our glorious British people.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      Yep! They thought they had a ‘remain’ victory in the bag then promptly lost. Now, rather than give us leavers what we voted for, the British people are being softened up for another fudge somewhere down the line by delay and obfuscation when the ‘remain’ machine thinks the odds will be more heavily in their favour.

      Given proper leadership, this would have been sorted by now and had Cameron sent the article 50 letter the very next day rather than bailing out. Yet it suits their purpose to have a dithering Prime Minister who says one thing at Lancaster House, then appears to water it down afterwards by offering sops to those who listened to the siren voices and chose badly.

      There is however a heavy price to pay for obfuscation. There is (and I hate to use this word) an existential threat to the Conservative party with May’s continued leadership. Her shortcomings reflect badly on everyone else and they are no longer widely trusted. I couldn’t much care less for the toadies in her party, but there are still some good Tories who deserve our support and thanks. The one person who can now restore the Tory’s fortunes post Boris speech (and perhaps the only one, given all that has gone before) is a man whom we can all trust to tell the truth and to take the difficult decisions – Jacob Rees-Mogg.

      I wonder what odds the bookies would give for him to become the next PM? I bet he could beat the IMF hands down!

      Tad

  8. Ian Dennis
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    And if we were to cut pensions, increase taxes and make fuel more expensive.
    The IMF can point to us and say “Brexit did this, is this what you want”?

    • bigneil
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Cutting pensions, increasing taxes and making fuel more expensive would result in more older people dying earlier. The govt would just see this as more income along with more housing becoming empty, all ready for sticking the “free movement” in, to be paid for at our expense, obviously.

      • Helen Smith
        Posted February 18, 2018 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

        I’m sure it is just coincidence that older people are widely thought to support Brexit and Remainers can’t wait for them to die.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      Ian,

      I am absolutely sure you are dead right. It’s the way they work. Just look at some of the decisions taken by the good old BoE (oh, and don’t forget to check out the governor’s CV!)

      Tad

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

        Ed Mahoney doesn’t seem to agree.

  9. Richard1
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    The IMF does seem to be casting around for a sensible role. If they are to make it their business to pass commentary on various countries’ political and economic choices, surely one of the major potential sources of global instability, which they ought to address, are the fundamental instabilities of the Eurozone, where there is monetary union but no fiscal and political union. The continued existence of c. €1 trillion of bad debt on the balance sheets of Eurozone banks means zombie banks are propping up zombie companies, resulting in stagnation – growth is not even across the Eurozone. When will the IMF propose these are cleared out through the system as has more or less happened in the US, surely in part accounting for the better growth in the US?

    It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the IMF has a particular political agenda, doubtless influenced by its current managing director, which includes bias in favour of the euro and denial of its fundamental problems.

  10. Richard1
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    It’s clearly time to junk the virtue signalling 0.7% of GDP for aid policy – why don’t the IMF suggest that?

    Excellent article by the Telegraphs Allister Heath on the Oxfam scandal:-

    How politicisation, easy money and lax controls made Oxfam a disaster waiting to happen
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/02/14/easy-money-lax-controls-made-oxfam-disaster-waiting-happen/?WT.mc_id=tmgliveapp_iosshare_AqM2pt2Bb8Yb

    Mrs Mordaunt should cut all public funding of this organisation forthwith

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      Wholly agree. I think Mrs Mordaunt made a mistake by not doing so immediately and has said she will wait on the CC. I do not hold her to blame however.

      She spoke robustly but if she and government funk serious action and obvious change, the chances are that as with Savile and the BBC people will think Oxfam got away with it. In the meantime the apologists will soon get organised.

      And after all taking money away would have concentrated minds beautifully and could have been given back at some point. That way government would come out a winner. I fear that again with this they will apear weak.

  11. Dave Andrews
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    If the IMF is worried about the UK economic prospects, why did it not recommend we suspend IMF contributions?
    That would save a bit.

  12. Mark B
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    The IMF is just a Globalist mouthpiece – End of !

    Look at what they have done to the Greek economy ? And why do they only suggest tax rises for self employed ? Why not tax rises for the megarich and the large corporates and people like themselves who are on lavish salaries and benefits ?

    Increasing fuel costs would put a lot of people in serious debt. It would also inflate manufacturing costs and cut consumer spending.

    What needs to happen is to cut government spending on wasteful projects like HS2. Less spending by government will mean that the debts can be better serviced without resorting to taxation.

    Madness !

    • L Jones
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      It IS madness, Mark B. It’s surprising that the white elephant HS2 has been brushed under the carpet (if you can do that with an elephant) when it is a black hole for money. There must be other projects as mad as this whose abandonment could save the country huge sums. And we are supposed to listen to that IMF patronising drivel as if it’s for our own good!
      Hidden agenda? Surely not.

      • L Jones
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        Incidentally – was this the bunch that wrote the Conservatives’ Manifesto at the last election? Sounds familiar.

  13. alan jutson
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Are we not members the IMF in some way, if so what involvement, if any, did our Government representatives have in this farcical suggestion.
    Or
    Was our place taken up by an EU representative on our behalf.

    Would be nice to know, you then may have your answer !

    Clueless, absolutely clueless.

    The way to get our debt down is to manage spending better, and stop waste on fantasy projects, and complicated tax and benefit schemes.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      IMF country assessments are always discussed with the subject country. If they cannot agree they will not publish. The analysis remains, of course. I doubt the UK’s own analyses would differ much from the IMF’s but it is politically better to have an outsider tell the truth sometimes.

      • alan jutson
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

        Rien

        You have just outlined the possible reason for error, that is if your suggestion is correct, because our lot have been constantly wrong in almost every prediction they have made in the last decade or more.

        What is the point of the IMF making such predictions at all if it is not all of their own work, and it is totally subject to a Governments agreement.

  14. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    You tacitly criticise the Bank of England for policies which reduce growth in the UK. Those policies appear to reduce debt fuelled growth.

    Might I suggest that growth through uncontrolled debt is as damaging for the general population as growth through uncontrolled immigration.

    Are you advocating a return to debt bingeing? Clarity would be appreciated.

    Reply No I am not proposing excessive debt. Allowing enough people to borrow to buy cars and homes is healthy.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      Reply to RM: only if they can afford the debt..

  15. Bob
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Are you sure that the IMF mistakenly released George Osborne’s Punishment Budget instead of their report?

    Does it mention anywhere that perhaps the foreign aid budget could be trimmed back as it appears to be financing stag parties for Oxfam staff?

  16. agricola
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    The IMF is a political entity largely due to the policy of Madame Legarde. She has used it to bail out nation states within the EU which are the responsibility of the EU.

    We are at around 20th in the EU league tables on pensions, Paying out an average of about 30% of income as pension. Austria for example pays 75%. She obviously has not done her homework. As a French socialist of course, she like all socialists wish to increase the tax burden. They cannot think outside this box. The IMF’s forecasting is no better than that of our treasury, principally because it is politically driven. Her baby the EU minus our £12Billion PA will be suffering gripe and she will be the nurse with the gripe water.

  17. Ian wragg
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Britain leaving the EU is a body blow to the supra national organisations like the U.N. IMF etc which wish for one world government.
    The ……….. Lagarde is a voice for Brussels and they would love to see us fail. Standby for more nonesense form the rest of the left wing organisations.
    No mention of Donald swingeing tax cuts.

  18. Bryan Harris
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    The IMF, like the UN, and many other organisations… Charities included, have left the path of reality, and now follow socialism…

    Just look at how they behave – if they emulate the labour party, then that is a clue that they are incapable of an unbiased view – they will always have their own agenda …

    • Mitchel
      Posted February 16, 2018 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      I have a copy of Richard Deacon’s “History of the Russian Secret Service”(written in1972,revised in 1987).In it he examines the highly successful infiltration of UNESCO,the Church,Charities,the Peace Movement,etc by the KGB.

      By the time the Soviet Union iself expired,these organisations had legs of their own,ideology intact despite the demise of the USSR,and have more than replaced whatever funding they had lost from the Soviets with contributions from”western” governments who have clearly acquiesced in it.

  19. Lifelogic
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Indeed they are nearly always wrong they have a vert silly agenda.

    You say:- It is difficult to see how taxing the self employed more would help innovation and economic flexibility.

    Indeed but that is what May and Hammond are doing.

    The way to cut the government deficit and debt is to cut the vast government waste, cut rates, cut regulation and grow the tax base. Hammond has the opposite ideas, he clearly wants to strangle the economy, chase the wealthy away from the UK, punish tenants with extra taxes and prevent owners from moving house. The man must go now.

    Newsnight last night had a rather silly “BBC think” PC discussion on the lack of women choosing Stem subjects. A report suggested that in more gender neutral countries like Sweden (where they have more freedom of choice) they are even less likely to choose to do them. What is the problem? Women are different, on average, they make different choices. If they want to do these subjects and are good enough fine but to expect it to move to 50/50 is moronic, unscientific and totally wrong headed. Evolulion has made the genders (on average) quite different as you would expect. This can be shown very easily indeed in almost everything you care to measure.

    Nearly all the horrendous mass shootings and murders are caused by men. Do they expect 50/50 there too? Do they think that this is caused by environmental influences too. Perhaps if we bought pink fluffy toys for these boys’

    It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong. Richard P. Feynman

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      A good interview podcast today with Jame Dellingpole, interviewing the solid & sound Peter Lilley. One of only five people who had the sense to vote against Ed Miliband’s insane Climate Change Act. (JR abstained).

      Apparently even the official cost benefit analysis showed it would cost twice the benefit. But it seems that only Lilley bothered to ask for a copy before the vote. The reality is that it costs more like 1000 times the benefit – indeed are there any benefits at all? A very tiny bit warmer is a jolly good thing on balance. As are slightly higher C02 levels for crop production and the greening of the planet.

      We are governed by scientifically and economically illiterate, green crap, climate alarmist priests.

      • Andy
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

        A very tiny bit warmer is no doubt a wonderful thing for pensioner Peter Lilley. He is nearly 75 and would probably like it a bit warmer for his final years.

        Climate change denier Lord Lawson is 86.

        With no offense to them they will be dead before climate change gets bad.

        My son, who is currently 5, will hopefully still be around in 2100.

        His generation will have to live with the disaster the Baby Boomers have inflicted on the planet long after they are gone.

        These angry, irrational, hard-right climate change denying pensioners are a complete irrelevance. It is 2018 – they and their failed ideas belong in the late 1970s.

        • fedupsoutherner
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

          Andy, it’s your age group inflicting the most damage if that’s what you believe. You’ve obviously been educated recently or should I say brain washed into believe all this crap. Your age group spend longer in the shower or bath, have all kinds of electronic gadgets that we never had, leave lights on, TV’s and computers on, take more flights, all drive cars once they reach 17 and generally expect anything and everything life can offer them. Stop running down the baby boomers. We didn’t ask to be born. Your generation is spending billions on something which just won’t work. You’d be better off picking up all the plastic bottles and other crap your generation uses that ours didn’t bother with. You sound as though you are guilty for having parents.

        • John
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

          Are you one of those who thought the Kyoto Protocol on climate change?

          What a wonderful idea, remove heavy industry from Nation States (bet the Steel and Coal unions loved that) and give it all to China.

          China became the heavy industry producer, the unregulated China where 100’s thousands now die or suffer from birth defects from unregulated pollution.

          Only to transport these good BACK to those countries that used to produce them in 50,000 horsepower diesel engines.

          Would you be one of those ‘green’ …….?

        • David Murfin
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

          “the disaster the Baby Boomers have inflicted on the planet”
          When did this happen? Most of the extra CO2 (if that is what you are talking about) is produced by the present generation in India and China.

        • Anonymous
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

          I doubt I’m very much older than you, Andy.

          I voted Brexit.

          I have children too.

          Stop inciting hatred against the aged.

        • Po Lar
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

          Andy you sound like one of these people, completely devoid of an understanding of nature, who think Polar bears like hanging around on ice-packs, sleeping in blizzards, and swallowing frozen fish. No they don’t! At the earliest opportunity they wander round Inuit settlements where it is warm by comparison, free from gales, go into trash cans for take-aways, and if they’re really lucky smash the window of an empty home and go sleep their with their cubs for the night and for ever.
          It’s hard being a polar bear.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 16, 2018 at 9:43 am | Permalink

            Also the Polar bears have defied the extinction prediction made by Greens and now exist in record numbers.
            Once the bears were the poster boys for WWF Greenpeace adverts asking for donations.
            Another failed project climate fear prediction.

      • roger
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

        From notalotofpeopleknowthat

        Offshore

        The following developments, which all have CfD contracts, started producing power in 2017:

        Burbo Extension – 258 MW
        Dudgeon – 402 MW
        Walney Phase 1 – 330 MW
        All three have index linked contracts, currently worth £161.71/Mwh. These are due to be increased for inflation in April.

        In addition, 690 MW of capacity has been added by developments which still qualify for ROCs, as they were already in the pipeline when the RO scheme was wound up for new projects.

        These schemes are awarded 2 ROCs per Mwh. An ROC is worth £47.22/Mwh this year, so these schemes receive an effective subsidy of £94.44/Mwh.

        The current wholesale price of electricity is £45.80/Mwh, so these projects could expect to receive a total payment of £140.24/Mwh.

        If we add the CfD and RO projects together, the average price works out at £152.89/Mwh, more than three times the market price

    • Stred
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      There was a programme on BBC last year in which they left toys with wheels and dolls on the ground below baby chimps. The male chimps went for the wheels and the females picked up the dolls.

      • Prigger
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

        Did they make the males pay road tax and doll support?

  20. Bert Young
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Thank goodness the IMF do not run this country . Quite apart from the forecasts they made that we are always on the brink of ruin , their present recommendations of raising taxes as the means by which we reduce our debt burden is ridiculous . Lowering taxes has always resulted in increasing the economy and not just here !. Trump has recently introduced this approach and look what happened – their national production increased .

    Lagarde has had a close personal link to the EU since she became Head of the IMF ; she probably has her eyes on a future political role with them once her IMF term finishes . She should study Blair more closely and ask herself whether a ” love you want you ” approach is successful .

    Any suggestion that our educational standards are inadequate is utterly unreasonable and false . Our universities and the schools that feed them are at the top of the world and attract overseas students in huge numbers for this very reason . I have witnessed this activity at the highest level over many years ; I know that we produce the best results .

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      Indeed increasing tax rates from the currently hugely over taxed (and regulated) position that Brown, Osborne & Hammond have given us would raise less tax not more.

  21. Mick
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    I would take what the IMF have to say with a pinch of salt, after all they are in the pocket of the Eu along with all the other remoaners who’s main objective is to try and overturn the will of the people
    Off topic
    https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/919120/Brexit-news-UK-EU-Michel-Barnier-John-Redwood-European-Union-Sky-News
    Couldn’t agree more Mr Redwood, etc ed

  22. John
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Seeing as we are about bottom of the OECD income replacement rate at retirement I’d say the IMF are clueless. Greece even offers a better replacement rate though dropping fast in the table for obvious reasons. They were near the top.

    https://data.oecd.org/pension/net-pension-replacement-rates.htm

  23. formula57
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    You perhaps say these things: –

    “It is difficult to see how taxing the self employed more would help innovation and economic flexibility.”.

    “Nor is it easy to see why pushing more people on low incomes into fuel poverty through a massive tax hike on domestic fuel would be a good idea.”

    because you are not spending enough time with Chancellor Hammond. We know from his penultimate budget that he is completely at home with the first proposition and his failure to embrace Brexit and at least pre-announce removal of VAT on domestic fuel to address the second betrays similar thinking. Perhaps he sees his future at the IMF?

    • Kevin Lohse
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      EU regulations state that we cannot remove VAT on an item once it has been charged, which is why the government has got itself into such a mess over feminine hygiene items. Once we Leave, government will be free to remove VAT as it sees fit. Indeed, one would hope that some of that £350 million a week would be used to ameliorate financial pressures on the low paid and pensioners.

  24. formula57
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    The IMF to which you refer is the same one is it that betrayed its principles, broke its own mandate and rules, overrode its own experts, and discriminated against many of its own members to support for the first time ever and on a scale more massive than anything it had done hitherto a currency rather than a country when it intervened in Greece to save the Euro? That IMF surely does not deserve a hearing on any matter.

    • Mitchel
      Posted February 16, 2018 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      Have a look at what the IMF has been up to in Ukraine.

  25. Adam
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Recurring IMF incompetence reveals its worthlessness. Such misguided bureaucrats may need their own Office for Budget Responsibility to regulate & fine those within who pump out errant opinions. So often, the IMF risks misguiding the governments & citizens of the nations who fund their nonsense. Ignoring them would be better than paying for generating nuisance.

  26. Original Richard
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    When considering advice from the IMF, it needs to be noted that the IMF, like the BBC and the CBI, receives funding from the EU and is headed by an EU supporting French politician.

    For many years France (Paris) and Germany (Frankfurt) have ben envious of London’s financial services industry, which is why there has never been a SM in financial services coupled with constant attempts to lure financial businesses out of London.

    Fortunately financial services jobs in London are going to be far more secure when we leave the EU because the EU will not have the power to implement legislation to weaken London’s hold on these services and hence jobs.

    The EU are really not interested in the loss of the UK’s money, although this is a short term nuisance, they are far more upset by the long-term loss of power and control they will have over the UK.

    • Michael Wood
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      Dead right!

      • Mark B
        Posted February 16, 2018 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

        He is, isn’t he 🙂

  27. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Off-topic:

    https://europa.eu/european-union/about-eu/symbols/europe-day_en

    “Europe Day held on 9 May every year celebrates peace and unity in Europe. The date marks the anniversary of the historical ‘Schuman declaration’.

    That’s the historical Schuman declaration of 1950:

    https://europa.eu/european-union/about-eu/symbols/europe-day/schuman-declaration_en

    which adumbrated the creation of a federal European superstate:

    “… setting up of common foundations for economic development as a first step in the federation of Europe”

    ” … the realization of the first concrete foundation of a European federation”

    If as Juncker claims the EU is not about setting up a federal European superstate, why does he allow and encourage official celebration of this declaration calling for the creation of a federal European superstate?

  28. hans chr iversen
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    We can talk about IMF and any other forecasts for a very long time on the pros and cons.

    However, when they talk about our educational standards, they are unfortunately right, we have a major challenge in raising the standards in our primary and secondary schools and this is one of the largest challenges for British society in the future.

    If, we want to compete with the best in the future knowledge economy , we have aa lot of catching up to do.

    The best example to follow over the past decade in Europe is Finland.

    • Stred
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      Where they are building a cheap Russian nuke that works instead of another French one that still doesn’t after 10 years and huge price increases. Perhaps Mmme. Lagard should have insisted the UK should do the same.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      Glad you made this comment. That Oxford and Cambridge have such a high ranking says nothing about the UK education system as a whole; they are an anomaly (a few others in the UK come close) . Oxbridge trains a tiny percentage of the country’s intellectual workforce and then a large part of that Oxbridge portion is wasted on training politicians. What counts is the quality of, ia vocational training and large numbers of Bscs. An army needs good sergeants as well as generals. And, let’s face it, how many of the top Oxbridge science scholars (PhD students and teaching staff ) are British?

      • alan jutson
        Posted February 16, 2018 at 8:20 am | Permalink

        Rien

        I agree with your comments.

        Many highly qualified students also spend a lifetime in academia teaching more who want to stay in academia, so never actually get to use their so called talents out in the real world.

        Thus they have little practical knowledge, its all theory, based on theory.

  29. Iain Gill
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    IMF diplomats travel on diplomatic passports of the IMF, rather than their own home countries nationality.

    The only reason I mention this is because it makes them easy to spot them at passport control.

    And boy oh boy do the border guards at the Chicago airports ruthlessly take the mickey out of them, loudly for all to hear. I think the border guards are tenured, and so have extreme job security, which makes them very secure saying what they really think.

    It is absolutely hilarious to hear 1) how educated the border guards are about international finance and 2) how good their almost professional comedian grade take downs verbally of these trumped up diplomats are

    So funny in multi dimensional ways

  30. acorn
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Closer to home there are some prime Quangos asleep on the job; likely to cause their political masters to “not win an election in the UK”, if they fail to protect their political masters from blame.

    For instance; the charities commission; the prudential regulation authority; the pensions regulator; the financial conduct authority; the (DWP funded) pensions advisory service etc., etc.

    This is government of the 99% for the 1% by the Westminster wannabe 1%.

  31. English Pensioner
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    I’d agree with their view on UK educational standards. Regardless of the fact that we have some of the best universities, our general educational standards appear to be falling, not only when compared with many far east countries, but also when compared with most European countries.
    Even our universities seem to be doing their best to fall down the league due to their giving in to all the trendy ideas such as ‘trigger warnings’ about parts of the curriculum which might cause the poor darlings offence and cause them to rush to their ‘safe space’. Removal of books from their libraries because they might offend is a further indication of the decline. The effective banning of speakers who do not meet the approval of the left-wing students union, hardly helps broaden the minds of students and make them think about tolerance and alternative ideas.

    • Alison
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      Agree re educational standards. So many university lecturer friends bemoan the inability of new students to write an essay, spell, research reliably … and you only have to look at spelling, ‘statistics’ on newspaper web sites …

      But I think that Brexit will lead children, teenagers to focus more on doing well at school, with a lurking awareness in the background that we have to make our own way .. so that the young will also want to make their own way, work hard, invent ..

      It would be good if the UK can also (re)create a society which highly values vocational skills … perhaps restore the technical colleges (righting Blair damage).

  32. Christine
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    It seemed easy enough to join the EU and apply all the rules of the treaties so why is it taking so long to leave? Why are we now spending so much time discussing a transition or implementation rather than getting on with trade deal talks? Why the huge gap in talks between last October and March this year when time is so short? It seems to me we are getting constant delaying tactics hoping that something big will happen to change the public’s mind. One good thing about Brexit is that the public is now aware that the interests of these so-called experts are not for the benefit of the ordinary people but for big business. Very few ordinary people have any regard for what these organisations predict, as they have often been proved wrong. If I had made so many mistakes in my working life, I would be out of a job.

  33. Alison
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Hear, hear to this post, and to so many of the comments, especially Duncan, fedupsoutherner, agricola.
    Re pensions, chatting in a Brussels boulangerie, a lady came in, bitterly complaining that her daughter, a supervisor in a factory, received less salary than her daughter’s mother-in-law received in pension (who had had a clerical job).

    Surely the IMF and/or Mme Lagarde needs to consider reputation risk – these are surely politically motivated poor forecasts and reports with damaging guidance, and despite her best efforts, the forecasts will prove way off the mark.

    On Greece, I think the IMF started trying to rein back the EU

  34. Norman
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like an ‘own goal’, to me: proof, if any were needed, of the corrupt nature of the globalist elite, and the lengths they will go to undermine the underlying freedom we have enjoyed for at least 300 years – now so gravely at risk.

  35. Ron Olden
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    The UK’s Net State Debt to GDP is easily affordable. I do however agree that we need to balance the budget asap.

    We tried a miniscule tax (NIC) increase on the self employed last year. But despite the fact that most of what it amounted to, was to fund the cost of abolition of Class 2 NIC, there was uproar in the political spectrum, all the way from the Corbinite Left, the SNP, the Lib Dems, through to the Tory Right and UKIP, and it had to be abandoned,

    So perhaps the IMF would like to return to planet Earth for a visit.

    There is, however still huge scope for reducing public spending, right through from expensive final salary Public Sector Pension Schemes, the EU Budget Contribution, Overseas Aid, costly PFI schemes, Housing Benefit, unneccessary ‘in work’ benefits given to people of working age, and wholesale waste in the Public Sector.

    • mancunius
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      There are several reasons why an increased tax on lower-paid Class 2 self-employed is not a good idea.
      It is not ‘miniscule’ – the rise by 1% in Class 4 seems small, but many low-paidf do not earn enough to need to pay Class 4 – from April they’ll have to. Abolishing Class 2 and forcing all lower earners to go onto Class 4 increases by *five times as much* the amount of tax they’ll have to pay. Some self-employed are nearly on the bread-line. Take more tax away from them, and they’ll be forced to give up self-employment, and claim UB and other benefits. Others with a skill will emigrate to earn more than the pittance to which our generous immigration policies have reduced their earnings. No ‘minimum’ or ‘living wage’ for them. No employers paying for NIs and pensions. They earn what they can, and that is often less than you can even imagine.
      Hammond’s justification for the income tax increase for the self-employed was that in return he was going to give them pension benefits. But the self-employed do not expect that – they have paid for their own pensions, and often worked cheerfully until they drop. What May and Hammond are doing is gradually, bit by bit, sapping the self-reliance and independence out of British working life, and casting the baleful net of state control and influence over everyone.

  36. James Snell
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    I don’t agree..i think Christine LeGarde is a very elegant lady..French too..she wears some lovely clothes and is always well turned out..I think i could vote for her..she strikes me as being very able..more able anyway than mrs May..God help her0

    • Prigger
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      She’s French!

      • Mitchel
        Posted February 16, 2018 at 10:46 am | Permalink

        More than a match for Donald in the orange stakes!

      • Mark B
        Posted February 16, 2018 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

        Enough to condemn anybody 😉

  37. Dennis Zoff
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    For those that wish to delve into the details regarding IMF’s UNITED KINGDOM Analysis, link below:

    http://www.imf.org/en/Publications/CR/Issues/2018/02/13/United-Kingdom-2017-Article-IV-Consultation-Press-Release-Staff-Report-and-Statement-by-the-45627

    Happy reading!

  38. Rien Huizer
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, which IMF publication(s) is this about? Obviously not the most recent “special issues” that provides some useful insights into two aspects extremely relevant to UK chances of surviving comfortably outside the EU: labour market dynamics (pointing to mild upward pressure on nominal wages, but constrained by low productivity. And a very interesting discussion of UK’s weak productivity and especially the enormous gap between regions, caused by lack of investment (itself partly by lack of SME finance) and labour mobility issues.

    As to government debt: the IMF is not alone, the credit rating agencies do not like this level of debt in a low-productivity economy facing a potentially calamitous shock to trade and especially productivity either. They all know that the BoE holds a considerable portion of that debt but as you know very well, the objective of the QE program was and is not monetization. So that debt is real unless a future Chancellor would risk the country’s reputation. In fact, that would turn the UK into an Argentina, not the Venezuela that would result from Messrs Corbyn&McDonell’s financial policies. I would prefer present day Buenos Aires to Caracas but for Joe voter the difference is not that great.

    Clearly, the only way to make a success of Brexit will be to either (a) lower wages – by currency depreciation or mass unemployment or (b) a large increase in FDI. As it is likely that from next year FDI will be under severe pressure (there is no shortage of countries outside trade blocs that compete for the non-affiliated investment dollar), the burden will fall squarely on labour. And that would play into the “Venezuela ‘hands even more. No time for party games here.
    Reply The reputation of the US is not suffering from her decision to cancel the debts they bought in. UK borrowing is well below Japan, Italy, Belgium etc

  39. PaulDirac
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    The IMF is a political tool of the French,headed by the convicted felon Christine Legarde.
    They were wrong on all their predictions here – why even bother with their opinion.

    Regarding the ever returning “problem” of the post Brexit border with the Irish Republic.

    I simply can’t see the problem, we will be a sovereign country, we said that there will be no hard border on our side, so that’s the end of this non-issue.
    If the EU is unhappy, they can put in a hard border on their side, fine with us.
    How we handle the transition of people and goods through this border is OUR problem, we don’t need to spell it out, in a word – it’s none of their business.

  40. Dunedin
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    “Their remedy is to abolish the regular increases in the state retirement pension which they think is too generous, and to put through a series of tax increases. ”

    When the new state pension was introduced in 2016, changes were made to the inflation linked increases paid by contracted-out defined benefit schemes. Prior to 2016, the state provided statutory increases on Guaranteed Minimum Pensions earned before April 1988, and any increase in excess of 3% CPI for GMP earned from April 1988 to 1997 through the state pension. These increases were abolished with the introduction of the new state pension – the higher rate is supposed to make up for the lost increases.

    As a result pensioners now find themselves with the pre-1988 GMP entirely frozen, and the post 1988 GMP limited to 3%. For someone retiring in 2018 this could affect half of the pensions accrued over a 40 year working life.

    When the IMF recommends abolishing regular increases to the state pension I wonder whether they have taken account of these changes which were not well publicised at the time.

    “What a bizarre and negative mix. Why do they recommend this?” – The IMF staff enjoy generous salary, tax and benefit packages – their comfortable lifestyles will not be affected by the pension cuts and tax rises they recommend.

  41. Ed Mahony
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Today is 20th anniversary of the Angel of the North.

    The Catholic Church has taught for centuries, that each country has a mighty guardian angel watching over it (the work a guardian angel can do is dependent, to a degree, on the faith of a nation). And is all part of belief in the virtue of patriotism.

    This is entirely biblical—part of the Old Testament. And we see these mighty guardian angels in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (a Catholic allegory of life and England and war in the 20th century) in the form of elves.

    I’ve no doubt, that our mighty guardian angel was watching over, in particular, when our country was attacked by the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain. The Nazis should have won on paper. I don’t want to take away from the effort and heroism of our people. But no doubt there was a mighty guardian angel watching over us back then.

  42. Vanessa
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    And I thought VAT was a European Union tax ? They are very hopeful that we will still be paying this once we leave ?

  43. Andy
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Got my tax bill today – with a very handy breakdown of where my money is spent.

    9p a day on the EU. Bargain.
    15p a day on international aid. Money well spent.
    £6 a day on pensions and welfare. What a waste.

    Slash pensions, save me money.

    • Edward2
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      And make people on less than 10k a year worse off?
      Where is your sense of decency.
      Many older people are poor.
      Shame on you

    • David Murfin
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

      Your turn will come to be old. I hope your son will look after you.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

      Thank heavens your anger is rarely seen in normal life, Andy, because if you weren’t part of a tiny minority of angry Remainers I think this country would be in a state of civil war right now.

      The vast majority of the public (including most Remainers) have accepted the referendum result.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted February 16, 2018 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      Nice try again Andy…..funny satire!

  44. mancunius
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    “The IMF does not even seem to be good at forecasting the UK economy.”
    Exactly. We might well ask why since 2011 the IMF has been making bizarre forecasts and recommendations that would hobble our national economy, push us towards economic socialism, and create a climate of general fear about leaving the EU.
    One clue might be the appointment in 2011 of Christine Lagarde to be MD of the IMF, and its subsequent transformation into a willing tool of EU single-currency policies.
    If the IMF says it’s raining, we should now always look carefully out of the window to check.

  45. Andy
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    You do not believe the IMF. Or the OECD. Or the Governor of the Bank of England. Or the Treasury. Or 95% of economists. Who do you believe?

    Hard-right Tory Brexit Britain is failing.

    This week a homeless man in his 40s died outside Parliament.

    It was cold – and those who work inside were all far too preoccupied with Brexit to notice him die.

    They are too pre-occupied with Brexit to fix the NHS. People are dying in corridors.

    They are too pre-occupies with Brexit to tackle knife crime. Teens are being stabbed to death in frightening numbers.

    Our trains are no good, our schools don’t work, we can not defend ourselves.

    And the Tories are too busy fighting with each other about Europe to care about the collapse of the country around them.

    We do not need a general election which will see these failing pensioners removed from power and replaced with more of the same. We need a revolution – to clear out Westminster entirely and reclaim our good, decent, moral country from the dark forces which have taken it over.

    Reply I believe forecasters and commentators who got The ERM , the Euro and the banking crash right, which rules out the Treasury and IMF

    • eeyore
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      This post is an exquisite example of the logical fallacy ignoratio elenchi. I suppose Andy has been uneducated at university, but he could always look it up.

    • Edward2
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      The hard right slur lie again

  46. Blue and Gold
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    VAT on heating fuel was one of the many Conservative government stealth taxes. They love doing that. Look at the hike in Insurance premium tax from the party that claims it wishes to lower taxes.

    SOME self employed people are the lucky ones who can evade tax by taking cash in hand. How much does this cost the UK? Probably billions of pounds per year.

    Great uproar from the Tory Tabloids (including the Torygraph) when Mr Hammond wished to increase National Insurance for the self employed, by a tiny amount, in one of last year’s budgets.

    No wonder the NHS is struggling for funds when the money that is needed is in the pockets of SOME of the self employed in unpaid tax.

    I think the IMF knows far more about the UK economy than the average UK citizen.

    • Edward2
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      Ridiculous unsubstantiated slurs on self employed hard working people.
      Who pay tax and pay NI yet get very little in the way of benefits or pensions like the public sector who often retire in their 50s.

      If you have any real evidence then report it to HMRC

    • Bangnose
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      You have an odd idea of the self-employed. When Labour gets in you will have to get used to being self-employed yourself it you wish to have a job at all.

    • mancunius
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      If you’d been paying attention at the back there, you’d know that
      1) VAT on heating fuel was not a ‘Tory stealth tax’ but an EU directive implemented in 1993, a quarter of a century ago, and that
      2) Scrapping it was one of the well-publicised aims of the Leave campaign. So it’s good to see you are onboard with one of Michael Gove’s main Leave arguments. Welcome to the Brexit side!
      3) the self-employed NIC uproar among backbench Tories was because Hammond was breaking an explicit manifesto pledge by increasing NI.
      4) Hammond’s abolition of the Class 2 band for the lower-earning self-employed means a five-fold increase for the low-paid. If they do not pay it for a lifetime, they forfeit the state pension. You can find a summary of the position in an article in The Guardian (2nd November 2017, “Government delay to NICs changes for self-employed welcomed”).

      And if the IMF ‘knows’ so much, how bizarre that their published predictions for the UK have all been so wrong since early 2016. Perhaps the IMF really does ‘know’ but deliberately says the opposite of what they ‘know’. 😉

  47. Miss Brandreth-Jones
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    Chat about rubbish. Peoples puffed up prodding. We want to take the UK forward , we want to demonstrate what a freer nation can do. We don’t want outworn rules that will bring us down . We want to stand up and fight for our right to be independent and flourish . Incidentally we may have the best Universities in name but does it really help the UK? Of course there are a few innovators , but too much weight is given to a lot of academic rubbish. What was respected for its academic achievement is a soup full of snobbishness , outworn standards and cannons.We need real education for all, without the segregation and putting of students into little boxes by those teaching and too dull to think outside the box.

  48. John
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    Listening to Placido Domingo and la marseillaise I picked out this verse

    What! These foreign cohorts!
    They would make laws in our courts!
    What! These mercenary phalanxes
    Would cut down our warrior sons
    Good Lord! By chained hands
    Our brow would yield under the yoke
    The vile despots would have themselves be
    The masters of destiny

    What a proud national song La Marseillaise is, one that the French can round behind. Are they willing to give it up I wonder?

  49. Wibewal
    Posted February 16, 2018 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    BBC Question Time tonight gave the impression most people in Yeovil are liberal schoolteachers who don’t believe children should be given a test, liberal charity workers who think we should pay out and liberal military staff who think we are okay without a decisive weapon because “who would use it?”. All the panel think my tax money should be sent abroad. I think their tax money should be sent but not mine. I am very liberal and caring with their money.

  50. Epikouros
    Posted February 16, 2018 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Anyone who advocates more tax and less spend is half right. They are correct in suggesting less spend. Those who bolster an argument with precise predictions usually find that they end up making a fool of themselves as those predictions are ultimately discredited by being totally inaccurate. The forecasters and the tax more advocates(statists and the like) appear to come from a section of society that are left wing authoritarian by inclination and/or have extreme difficulty with understanding the laws of unintended consequences. Unfortunately that section of society is a rather large one so have a disproportionate influence on our lives so we are impoverished economically and socially because of it. On the face of it we do appear prosperous but we would be considerably more so if we took no notice of them. We would certainly be happier.

  51. R.T.G.
    Posted February 16, 2018 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    @ Blue and Gold

    “SOME self employed people are the lucky ones who can evade tax by taking cash in hand. How much does this cost the UK? Probably billions of pounds per year.”

    Do you estimate it could be as much as £28bn? If so, that would be a terrible indictment on their collective probity, would it not?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-40199259

  52. Melvin Cornwell
    Posted February 19, 2018 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    **all to do with collapsing our economy to ‘show that Brexit is to blame’…**

    EXACTLY THAT. All they have, in reality, is to try to “make us change our minds”, and THAT is why we have complete and utter nonsense from the IMF et al, trying to pull the rug from under millions of ordinary, caring British citizens, whose only ‘crime’ is to vote for the bleedin’ obvious to free us from EU control.

    It won’t work. We voted to Leave. And we intend that it will happen. Bullying us will not change our views.

    The desperation of the remain camp is palpable.

  • 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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