UK Net debt down by £18.5bn

The ONS had to admit today that it had overstated Public Sector Net Debt excluding  banks by £18.5bn in past figures. £11bn of this was an error, and £7.5bn comes from updated figures. It is all part of a pattern of too much official gloom about our economic and financial position.

Last year to end March 2018 total additional state borrowing came in at £40.5bn, compared to the March budget forecast in 2017 of £58.3 bn. So that  forecast was overstated by almost £18 bn.

Given these much better figures the Treasury needs to ask itself some  questions about its spending and taxing policies, and ask why the official forecasts and figures find it so difficult to track what is going on.

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72 Comments

  1. Peter
    Posted May 22, 2018 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Mrs. May is doing all in her power to add to UK debt for the benefit of the EU.

    Her generosity knows no bounds.

  2. Frank Salmon
    Posted May 22, 2018 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    One can’t help but think that the ONS is politically motivated. What is the betting that if Labour got in to power, the results would be over-optimistic.
    How about closing this clown outfit down and paying responsible forecasters based on the accuracy of their figures?

    • oldtimer
      Posted May 22, 2018 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      We are living in an Establishment world of smoke and mirrors. These are calculated to confuse us all. It seems the authors are confused too.

  3. nhsgp
    Posted May 22, 2018 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Fake news

    Last year to end March 2018 total additional state borrowing came in at £40.5bn,

    Additional borrowing means the debt increases.

    You claim that debt is down.

    Then you can’t tell the difference between debt and borrowing.

    So what is it? Are you going to tell civil servants you aren’t going to pay them the pensions they are owed?

    That’s just another debt.

    Reply I do not say the debt is down and No we do not intend to renege on pensions that are owed.

    • Richard1
      Posted May 22, 2018 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Are you really an NHS GP? If so that’s very worrying as it’s clear you either haven’t bothered to read the post or even worse, that you can’t understand it. The message is both very clear and quite correct: net debt is lower than had been stated (this doesn’t mean its “come down”) and borrowing is also lower than the Treasury has forecast it would be. I do hope you take more care with your patients!

      • Stred
        Posted May 23, 2018 at 9:03 am | Permalink

        Please don’t admonish the poor chap for admitting to being an NHS GP. The headline is Net Dept Down.

        • Richard1
          Posted May 23, 2018 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

          I do not admonish him for that but for misreading the piece.

    • Woody
      Posted May 22, 2018 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      The relevant phrase is “The ONS had to admit today that it had overstated Public Sector Net Debt “. Not debt is down but overstated .. similar to project fear “predictions”.

  4. DUNCAN
    Posted May 22, 2018 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    You know what’s going on here and I’m not sure why you feel the need to pretend that you don’t.

    It’s a pathetic attempt by biased civil servants to construct an aura of doom to manipulate the emotions and perceptions of the general public.

    No doubt many of these so called public servants take their direction straight from the PM

    It defies belief that they think that this program of propaganda isn’t so obvious.

    Why do I feel like I am living in some form of Stalinist environment?

    A deliberate attempt to pull the wool over peoples eyes

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 22, 2018 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      “Why do I feel like I am living in some form of Stalinist environment ?”

      This new thing called ‘hate crime’. Reported in local news bulletins with increasing frequency.

      This is to scare us into conformity. How long before Hate Crime = Thought Crime ? How long before Political Correctness = Newspeak ?

    • Hope
      Posted May 22, 2018 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      Carney at it again. Too political, May knows he is doing it without any response or slap down, yet if a leaver pointed benefits of leaving i.e. Unemployment down, growth up etc which is Government policy she would intervene. Why no blame from Carney on Hammond and Gove implementing EU environment policies that had a detrimental affect on car sales? Why no blame to VW, Germany or the EU for emmission scandals that brought their policies about?

      Good to see and read Mr Mills, Labour donor, leader of JML business saying that he exports to 80 countries without problem nor would there be if we left without a deal. Why is none of the good economic news not attributed to Brexit feel good factor? Trump must be rubbing his hands he ever gets to do a deal with May, the U.K. Would be taken to the cleaners, have the Supreme Court preside over US citizens here, a right to our waters and fishing stock, £100 billion just to talk about trade, mass immigration of people without a voice and the American trade partnership to decide our trade policy, give away Bahamas and Bermuda and all countries bordering the US mainland, and about another four billion so he spend on any overseas aid project he likes.

      Does Liam Fox have any role in govt? The same for Davis who I still being squeezed out by May and civil service we read.

      JR, oust her. You know she incrementally trying to keep us in at any cost to the taxpayer. She is untrustworthy, does not tell the truth i.e. Divorce bill, shuttles off at night to make a terrible deal with Junker, only saved by the DUP her caught her out.

      Patterson and DUP make it clear all this nonsense about the Irish border by Remainers is just that piffle, they know it but are trying to deceive people into thinking it is a bigger issue than it is and highlighting issues that a completing wrong to the Good Friday Agreement. Question: when will you bring this disaster of a deal and disaster of PM May to an end?

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted May 22, 2018 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Hopefully this gives some scope to undo the huge damage that Hammond has done to the fiscal system. This with his persecution of landlords and thus tenants, his endless attacks on private pensions pot sizes and contribution rules, his counterproductive attacks in chasing away wealthy Non Doms, the attacks on the self employed, his ratting on the £1Million IHT threshold promise, restore personal allowances and child benefit from those it was taken off, get rid of the 20% increase in IPT …….

    Better still just replace this dire economic illiterate please. Taxes are far too high, far too complex and government far to large, bloated and totally incompetent. Cut cut cut! Start by cutting Hammond out.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 22, 2018 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      Just as damaging are the new very restrictive (government knows best) bank lending regulation which are restricting lending totally irrationally and killing many perfectly sound business expansions, projects and property developments.

      The bank were lending rather too freely in 2007 but they have become far, far too restrictive and can get away with huge fees and margins due to a lack of competition.

    • getahead
      Posted May 22, 2018 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

      Agreed Ll. He is also an Establishment elite lackey, the main reason why we are not going to leave the EU.

      • getahead
        Posted May 22, 2018 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

        He means Hammond.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 23, 2018 at 8:19 am | Permalink

        I assume he (and May) are also cheering on Carney with his project fear continued £800 threats!

    • Bob
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      I suspect it may be the effects of minimum wage, auto enrollment and business rates which has resulted in the downsizing and closure of some of our high street stores like Mothercare etc.

  6. Woody
    Posted May 22, 2018 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    But, but, but .. the Bank of England has assured us that we are all £900 worse off entirely due to brexit. Worse off, of course, than their “predictions”. Now who do we believe ? Carney or the facts.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 22, 2018 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      As pointed out in an earlier comment below, one fact is that the decline in economic growth rate since the EU referendum has followed something like the same trend of decline seen before the referendum. Mark Carney boldly claims that cumulatively we have lost growth equivalent to 2% of GDP but in reality it is not possible to say with any accuracy how far from the pre-existing downwards trend we have drifted, or even say with complete certainty that any drift has been down below the pre-existing trend rather than up above it. We see the same kind of fake claims about the effect of the referendum on inflation, claims which deliberately ignore the pre-existing upwards trend:

      http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2018/02/13/where-do-we-want-the-boundary-to-be-between-the-public-and-private-sectors/#comment-918872

    • Adam
      Posted May 22, 2018 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      Many of us would happily purchase Brexit for £900 each if such a choice were available.

      Britain deserves a better BoE Governor than Mark Carney. His predictions & reality are so far apart, there are rarely & barely any overlaps.

      ‘Carney’ is a North American informal noun for someone who works in a carnival or masquerade, which might indicate more coincidence.

      • L Jones
        Posted May 22, 2018 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

        You are so right, Adam. £900 each, you say? There are many of us who would be happy to pay many times as much as that to ensure our freedom from the EU, if our funds allowed.

        I love Canada and its people – I spend a lot of time there. But if there’s one Canuk I can’t stand – it’s THIS one!

        • Bob
          Posted May 23, 2018 at 8:21 am | Permalink

          I read that he extended his contract for another year.
          With Philip Hammond’s blessing no doubt.

    • Alison
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      In his sums, did Mr Carney net off the exports we wouldn’t have sold, if we had voted to remain, and sterling would have been higher? What about all the extra UK-made, UK-grown goods that have been sold since the referendum vote? The extra tourists who have come to the UK because sterling is cheap?
      Bet he didn’t. (too busy to have checked, very sorry)

  7. Peter Martin
    Posted May 22, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    “The ONS had to admit today that it had overstated Public Sector Net Debt excluding banks by £18.5bn in past figures”

    OK the deficit is lower than we previously supposed. But is this good news? You may remember that Nigel Lawson was proud of delivering a surplus in 1989-90. Just a few years later the economy had stalled and was in deep recession. Taking too much money out of the economy , or not putting in enough to replenish the money leaving to pay our import bill can have a disastrous deflationary effect. Especially if credit bubbles burst creating a general panic in the economy.

    There’s no prizes for guessing what and who the liberal establishment will blame if that happens. Just make sure you keep the throttle open enough to prevent the stall in the first place!

    • Edward2
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      Government spending rises every year.
      It was 340 billion in 2000
      By 2020 it could be 900 billion.
      How much more Keynesian stimulus does the economy need?

      • Peter Martin
        Posted May 24, 2018 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        “How much more Keynesian stimulus does the economy need?”

        Enough to steer a sensible middle course between having too much unemployment on one hand and too much inflation on the other. Enough so that the economy can be sensibly controlled without unregulated private lending creating credit booms, asset price bubbles and which inevitably are followed by a bust.

        It is not just about levels of Government spending. Levels of Govt taxation are just as important.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 24, 2018 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

          Spending and taxation levels are at record levels so it doesn’t reaļly answer my question.

  8. Ron Olden
    Posted May 22, 2018 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    I also noticed a BBC headline today saying that ‘real household incomes are £900 a year lower ‘following Brexit”.

    Upon reading more closely I discovered that this bit of fake news arises from Mark Carney having said that ‘real household incomes’ are £900 a year less than he forecast in May 2016.

    The BBC has obviously failed to notice that we haven’t had Brexit yet.

    And perhaps Mr Carney would like to reflect upon the fact that all this proves, is that his forecast in May 2016 was wrong, as is nearly every other forecast he and the Office for National Statistics makes.

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      The government has had a hand in that ‘real household income drop’ Ron, most people are now paying a compulsory 3% into their workplace pension from £6032pa. For people on £21k that’s £450pa from their net pay. I’m not saying it is a bad thing but it is on top of their 12% NI contribution that they thought was a contribution to their personal pension.

      Council taxes have gone up way more than expected also. In Glasgow, for example, a flat purchased for £185,000 five years ago has a Council tax/Water Rates of £2600 pa. We are paying more and getting less Council tax money spent on what it was supposed to be collected for, it wasn’t collected just to support its own bureaucracy, institution and pensions but that is what it has become.

      Every £1 extra an Employer pays they get stumped for an extra 2% moving to 3% on top of their 13.8% contribution and these things are going completely unremarked for what a wonderful achievement this is. As well as increasing costs of social payments covering sick holiday pay and maternity holiday pay even though you have holiday pay on top for any replacement workers you wouldn’t have budgeted for and this from day 1 of employment, so if the worker only does a couple of months you end up with 28 days holiday to pay out during the maternity leave.

  9. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 22, 2018 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Oh, but according to some gleeful anti-Brexit media reports of what Mark Carney has just told MPs every household in the UK is now £900 a year worse off than it would have been if we had voted to stay in the EU in June 2016.

    That’s because since we voted to leave economic growth has been lower than had been expected, by 2% cumulatively as far as I can gather. So we are not actually worse off, we are actually better off, but not quite as better off as we might have been, perhaps.

    That can only be “perhaps” because although it is true that the economic growth rate has trended down since the EU referendum, it is also true that it was already trending down before the EU referendum.

    In fact it has been trending down since Q3 2012, as can be seen from the chart going back to Q1 2007 on the front page of the report linked here:

    http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-8298

    As I have said before – it is now getting tedious having to repeat the same things over and over again because the government does not want or cannot be bothered to defend its own official policy of EU withdrawal – if in the future somebody said to me:

    “You know that EU referendum really hit our economy”

    then I would have to ask if they thought the referendum had been held around the end of 2007, and that was why our GDP had then shrunk by 6% in just one year.

  10. Narrow shoulders
    Posted May 22, 2018 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Given these much better figures the Treasury needs to ask itself some questions about its spending and taxing policies

    not spending policies I feel.

  11. Robert Polatajko
    Posted May 22, 2018 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    It’s deliberate misinformation.

  12. alan jutson
    Posted May 22, 2018 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Well its good news the we are slightly better off than we imagined, but rather concerning that we still seem to base all of our tax policies on a guess, rather than historical fact.

  13. acorn
    Posted May 22, 2018 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    The Treasury and the BoE got blinded by their own smoke and mirrors. Both apparently had different numbers for QE Asset Purchase Scheme Gilts, and the Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS) / Term Funding Scheme, the latter finished this year. The ONS got blindsided by both of them. The version of Public Sector Finances quoted above, are strictly for voter and media consumption, the real numbers are at

    https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/governmentpublicsectorandtaxes/publicsectorfinance/datasets/publicsectorfinancesappendixatables110 Table PSA8B

    Public Sector Consolidated Gross Debt is down to £2,286 billion from its peak of £3,037 billion in June 2011, when circa £2,000 billion of that was the Treasury propping up the Banks with the “magic money tree” (National Loans Fund). The other circa £1,000 billion was government non-bank debt (PSND ex) which today is £1772 billion.

  14. Chrisf
    Posted May 22, 2018 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Ah, but we are all (per household) 900 GBP worse off than we could have been. Allegedly.

    We know this, because the Sage of all thing Accurate – yup, that bloke Carney – told us so this morning

    Ruth Lea didn’t seem to concur. Should I run to a bookies’ to get your opinion of the afore-mentioned Sages’ advice/opinion? Nope…didn’t think so…

    Jeez…what is it with these people that they continually get it so wrong and are still in their jobs? Seriously?

  15. mancunius
    Posted May 22, 2018 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    It must be very difficult for the Treasury to distinguish the figures they falsify from the figures they know are false but never correct, the false figures they correct but don’t announce, and the false figures that are simply false without their knowledge.
    We might describe Treasury civil servants themselves as ‘irrational numbers’ or to use a term from the Higher Rumsfeldian Theory, ‘unknown unknowns’.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 22, 2018 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      🙂

      That’s what acorn says above:

      “The Treasury and the BoE got blinded by their own smoke and mirrors.”

    • sm
      Posted May 22, 2018 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      “On the very rare occasions when the Treasury understands the problem, the Cabinet doesn’t understand the solution.”

      Sir Humphrey Appleby quote.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 22, 2018 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      What is completely unfathomable is why the Second Lord of the Treasury and the Governor of BoE remain in office.

  16. Richard1
    Posted May 22, 2018 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Excellent article by Matthew Lynn in the current edition of Money Week setting out how President Trump’s tax cuts are the latest example of the positive Laffer Curve effect – tax rates cut, receipts up, borrowing down. We need to do the same in the U.K.

    Will you be doing a post on John McDonnells extraordinary interview at the weekend at which he confirmed that he continues to seek he overthrow of capitalism and its replacement in the U.K. by socialism? Mr McDonnell falsely claimed Venezuela is no longer pursuing socialist policies and appeared to suggest policies of unlimited and arbitrary state interference in business ownership, profitability, pricing, employees pay etc. Surely the greatest risk by far to the economic outlook in the U.K. is now the potential for a far left Labour Government.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 22, 2018 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      Indeed it is a shame that Theresa May (and Hammond) never make this case. This as they just adopts daft soft socialist policies and never make the case for smaller government, lower taxes and fewer regulations. They always take the idiotic, “we are just like Corbyn – but not quite as bad” line.

      • Richard1
        Posted May 22, 2018 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

        I think May, Hammond et al are not socialist-lite but rather are like rabbits caught in the headlights. They know that if they lose the next election the Country is turned over to left-wing fanatics who care nothing for our heritage and institutions nor for the policies and way of life which has created, albeit imperfectly,peace and prosperity in the U.K. As dutiful patriots they cannot risk this and so they therefore dare not do anything ‘controversial’ such as cut taxes, deregulate, challenge existing statist authodoxies etc. The hope is this very tentative and timorous approach will be enough to keep the Marxists out, but it is of course a huge missed opportunity. We have to allow the possibility that their political judgement is right and a more free market approach, though clearly superior in outcomes, will bring such opposition from the forces of statism, trumpeted by the BBC, that it might cost the next election.

        • Richard1
          Posted May 23, 2018 at 5:21 am | Permalink

          Orthodoxies!

  17. Ian wragg
    Posted May 22, 2018 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Continuum project run UK down. All official figures must be pessimistic to emphasise the fact we need the crutch of Brussels to survive in this terrible world.
    The same mentality which says 0.1% of our cross border trade must prioritise 99.9% of our trade.

  18. hefner
    Posted May 22, 2018 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    A depressing take from James Anderson, manager of Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, one of the biggest quoted on the LSE:
    “Britain doesn’t understand that outliers matter. …London in the age of Trump could have become the home of the determined potential genius… That’s no longer possible. There isn’t even much need to speculate as to our failings versus the western fringe of America. We fall at every level, from management softness, to investment feebleness to societal love of the safe return over the spectacular possibilities. I see nothing on the horizon to change this terrible record. It’s very sad”.

    • Hope
      Posted May 22, 2018 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      Very interesting and thought proving. How depressing it must be for intelligent people to feel hampered by political half wits.

    • David Price
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 6:20 am | Permalink

      Anderson certainly typifies that which he decries – only 1.86% of SMT is invested in the UK with the rest in USA, China and everwhere else in large global operations like Amazon, Baidu, Alibaba.

      Perhaps he should stop relying on others to take all the risks but put his money where his mouth is and encourage and fund outlier startups like other fund managers and investor already do.

      Perhaps he should also stop trying to justify his feeble position by not pretending the whole country is like him.

  19. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted May 22, 2018 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Hey ho a rounding error of £11’ooo’000’000 then?

    That’s enough for a 50% business rates cut, throughout the UK, to solve the problems posed by you yesterday, and more.

  20. hans christian ivers
    Posted May 22, 2018 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    This is not politically motivated and has nothing to do with the EU either, this is a reoccurring issue that most governments in Europe seem to be struggling with for the moment.

    Denmark, Germany and Sweden had larger government surpluses than anticipated for 2017 as well.

    • libertarian
      Posted May 22, 2018 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      hans

      If as you say its not politically motivated, then its pure and total incompetence. I would therefore expect people to be removed from their posts

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted May 23, 2018 at 9:30 am | Permalink

        Libertarian,

        I would suggest you start working on getting them removed

        • Know-Dice
          Posted May 23, 2018 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

          We did in 2016 – First the EU, then a big kick in the back side for the UK civil service – One small step at a time….

        • libertarian
          Posted May 23, 2018 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

          hans

          Oh belive me thats exactly what I’m doing . One of the many benefits of taking back sovereignty

      • a-tracy
        Posted May 23, 2018 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

        It is time that our politicians did hold people to account and work on replacing them if they aren’t capable. That is what we PAY them to do on our behalf, uphold our public services and ensure they are competent, honest and trustworthy.

        The ONS – poor budgetary reporting, get confounded by ‘smoke and mirrors’ says acorn – well surely these auditors are paid to investigate properly and hold other departments to account they should DO WHAT WE PAY THEM FOR PROPERLY.
        The Met Office – poor weather reporting
        The Home Office – reported today once again treating an elderly lady from Ipswich with utter contempt who is responsible, who is the department head, name and shame them I’m sick of people getting away with this sort of incompetence. Mark Zuckerberg is dragged before parliamentary committees, so was Phillip Green why should our heads of the public services get away with getting things so wrong and removing trust in their institutions.

  21. Roy Grainger
    Posted May 22, 2018 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Mr Carney seems to think I’m £900 a year less well off as a result of the Brexit vote. I can reassure him that I’m not. My income is a bit higher than it was at the time of the vote, my expenditure is hardly higher as inflation is low, and my stock market investments have done rather well. His attempt to link GDP directly to my personal wealth is magical thinking at its finest.

  22. DUNCAN
    Posted May 22, 2018 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Today, JR Mogg reveals how desperate the Brexit position’s become. We won the plebiscite by 52-48 and yet still we are facing the prospect of the UK becoming a vassal state

    WHEN ARE YOU MR REDWOOD AND YOUR EUROSCEPTIC COLLEAGUES GOING TO DEPOSE THIS EUROPHILE OF A LEADER AND THE UK’S PM??

    If you don’t the UK WILL NEVER LEAVE the EU.

    Is my party, the Tory party, prepared to betray the British people and British democracy to protect this disingenuous, liberal left hypocrite of a PM?

    You know what needs to be done to save the UK’s pride an dignity. Failure to do so will mean this once great nation enslaved by Juncker and Barnier

    • hans christian ivers
      Posted May 22, 2018 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      enslaved by Junker and Barnier, so I assume that goes for the other 27 nations as well who are members, what a load of utter rubbish

      • Pragmatist
        Posted May 23, 2018 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

        When did Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania ever struggle against the EU and win? There must have been some issue. There was and is for Ireland on tax breaks, so called, to a certain company. Have they won with the EU? Of course not.

    • WalterP
      Posted May 22, 2018 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

      Ease up there Duncan..Junker’s time is up next year..Barnier might be there only until the end of 2020..the Eu parliament elections are to be held in about 12 months time and might throw up a different combination..but by then we will be into our new CU and SM arrangement with them..might not be so bad..we can hardly blame the EU for Tory party infighting and british government inadequacies

  23. Jason wells
    Posted May 22, 2018 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    JR You’re in parliament..why don’t you ask the question? You’re not exactly a million miles away from the minister and people who should know about ONS matters..and if these people who should know don’t know then the question has to be asked what are you going to do about it?

  24. Derek Henry
    Posted May 22, 2018 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    It’s simple you can never forecast how much you are going to borrow because you never know how much the foreign and private sector are going to save.

    The budget deficit = foreign and private sector ” sterling savings”

    National debt is just those savings moved into gilts.

    So unless you know in advance how much saving is going to be done then you can’t forecast government borrowing.

    • Chrisf
      Posted May 22, 2018 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      In which case, why forecast it at all?

      11bln is not an insignificant figure but if one is going to ‘use’ these figures, then make damn sure you are more accurate with the forecasting, surely?!

      The simple fact is that if various Govt departments continue to churn out this tripe, then people cannot/should not have confidence in their modelling. Which brings us back to a rather salient point, does it not?

    • Edward2
      Posted May 22, 2018 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      That is very strange economic theory.
      Keynes and Hayak et al would not agree with you.
      In fact I can only think of one economist who might agree with you.

      • Derek Henry
        Posted May 22, 2018 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

        It’s not a theory it is an accounting fact. I don’t care if people agree or not it is indisputable.

        It is neither political or ideological. Who else do you think holds the deficit and the national debt if it is not the non governmental sector ?

        • Edward2
          Posted May 23, 2018 at 8:21 am | Permalink

          Many different combinations of figures in accountancy can be arranged to balance.
          National economies are a bit more complex than that.

          • Derek Henry
            Posted May 23, 2018 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

            They are not difficult. I’ve studied them for 6 years. They are simple T accounts.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 24, 2018 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

            Glad to hear.
            Does the balance prove causation and correlation?

      • acorn
        Posted May 23, 2018 at 6:04 am | Permalink

        Strange but more or less true. The Japanese have the problem big time with a debt to GDP of 230%; they save the government’s money, don’t spend it, so the government never gets it back with taxes.

  25. Pat
    Posted May 22, 2018 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    So what is the explanation? Has government expenditure been rapidly reduced without anyone noticing? Or are tax receipts up? Since tax rates haven’t gone up, then increased tax receipts indicate growth. Which the “experts” tell us is negligible.
    High time to replace these experts with someone competent. Seaweed provides more useful forecasts.

  26. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Why is the government tolerating the spread of this and similar disinformation?

    https://euobserver.com/tickers/141882

    “UK households hit with Brexit income loss”

    “Households in the UK have lost around €1,025 in real income each as a result of Brexit, said Bank of England governor Mark Carney. “Real household incomes are about £900 [€1,025] per household lower than we forecast in May of 2016, which is a lot of money,” he told UK Treasury Committee on Tuesday. He said Brexit has knocked off some €45bn from the British economy.”

    JR, is it still the government’s official policy that we should leave the EU?

    If so, why does the government NEVER make any attempt to defend its official policy against the constant propaganda attacks from those who want it reversed, and who look increasingly likely to succeed in that aim?

    And what are we to conclude from the silence of the government department charged with executing that official policy? That they have no answers, or that they do have answers but they have been told by Theresa May and her pro-EU staff that they should keep quiet and give the Remoaners free rein to steadily build up public opposition to Brexit?

  27. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted May 24, 2018 at 12:57 am | Permalink

    On fiscal policy, the Treasury has been doing the right thing for the wrong reason. The correct reason is that State debt, at close to 90% of GDP, is too high and that, sooner or later the interest to be paid on that debt will become crippling.

    Which brings me onto monetary policy. In normal times, interest paid to savers should exceed inflation by at least 0.5%, suggesting that base rate should rise to 3%. The current base rate of 0.5% is too kind to underperforming businesses and leads to a stagnant society. Base rate at 0.5% favours the rich at the expense of the middle classes, because it leads to high asset prices, for example house prices. With many 40 year olds unable to buy a house, the Conservative Party is riding for a fall. Don’t you know how to count votes, Mr Redwood?

    Policy should be to achieve a steady fall in house prices in real terms, say by keeping them constant in nominal terms while inflation does its work. A tourniquet on immigration is one component, monetary policy another.

    Mr Carney and Mr Hammond (in cahoots?) have this strange policy of a low base rate accompanied by quantitative control of lending for particular purposes e.g. the purchase of motor cars. It is the sort of behaviour you could expect from a Labour Chancellor.

  • 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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