The Bank of England’s options.

Inflation is at 1.3%. (CPI 12 months to Dec 2019) compared to the target of 2.0%. Thanks to the world slowdown and the Chinese epidemic oil prices have fallen by one fifth this year, with freight rates and other commodities also well down. The pound is rising against the Euro and yen. All this points to no inflationary surge ahead. Indeed if there is an inflation problem it is it will be too far below target, as the target is meant to be symmetrical.

The Bank of England should recognise that its tightening of credit conditions through two rate rises, FPC advice against car loans and consumer credit, and tough rules on mortgages has greatly reduced money growth. Tight credit has helped slow the UK economy down to almost a standstill. There is nothing wrong with some increase in credit to people in  jobs to buy homes and cars, or to businesses needing more stock and equipment  because their revenue is growing. The Bank has to work with the commercial banks to assist  low inflation growth.

I do not think a 0.25% cut in the low official rate will do much. I would prefer a new round of Funding for Lending, a scheme which makes cheaper money available to UK banks prepared to undertake sensible new lending to the UK economy. This worked well before and would ease pressures in various areas.

The second is to do what the Fed is doing and make clear to markets that the Bank will make cash available by buying Treasury Bills if needed to preserve liquidity and enforce the current low rate structure in money markets. Commercial banks need to know the Central Bank is not about to squeeze them or damage them as the Bank of England did in 2008-9 by leaving markets short of cash.

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180 Comments

  1. Ian Wragg
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    The Treasury will continue to follow EU rules until someone is powerful enough to stop them. They are incapable of thinking for themselves after 40years being led from Brussels.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      They suffer from wrong headed “group think’ just like nearly everyone at the BBC and indeed at the Bank of England. The new BoE chap hardly inspires confidence, after all the lunacy we got and still get from the FCA.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted February 18, 2020 at 11:18 am | Permalink

        How did this collective hallucination, that you are all-seeing and all-knowing about other people’s minds arise?

    • Tonto, so good.
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      And follow Canadian rules

  2. agricola
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    The PM’s office, the Treasury, and the BoE need to have a common plan as to what we are trying to achieve and how we are going to get there. A plan with resolution is infinitely better than three key departments pulling in different directions. I await the budget to get a hint of such a plan.

    • jerry
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      @agricola; Indeed, and it rather makes a mockery of the BoEs nominal independence, we all know that Downing Street steers BoE policy, otherwise why would the BoE Governor have to write to the Chancellor explaining why targets were missed, if BoE monetary policy is truly independent surely the Governor would be writing that letter to himself in such circumstances!

    • bill brown
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      Agricola

      the BoE independence has served us well for most of the time and it should remain so as is the case in most successful countries. Like the US, Scandinavia, Switzerland and Netherlands

      • agricola
        Posted February 17, 2020 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

        The BoE having an opinion is fine. However not to the extent of the gunnery section, the engine room and the navigation command all pulling in different directions. That is a formula for getting sunk.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    Indeed the important thing is to make money available for sensible investments in and by the private sector and smaller businesses. The government can, it seems, afford to piss £100+ billion down the drain on the pointless HS2 and further billions on their absurd, expensive, unreliable, job exporting energy policy subsidies after all.

    Let’s get some lending to people who will invest it in some sensible things with sensible real returns. The bank slotting rules, the fiscal and lending attack on professional landlords and property developers had killed many perfectly sensible developments and investments. The bank are very expensive and very slow to act. Deals I used to be able to do with £X of my money and some bank borrowing now often need £2X of my money to fund a similar deal. So I can only do half of the deals.

    Banks used to lend at about base plus 1% now it tend to be base +3% minimum (this even to very solid and very low risk lending) and with high fees too. Loans often restricted to 5 year terms only too – with new fees and hassle then due at renewal. Plus they often demand endless expensive and often pointless valuations regularly to meet their capital slotting rules.

    They often pay just 0.2% to (unsecured) depositors and charge perhaps nearly 20 times this on very well secured loans to solid customers plus fees on top. This is not a sign of real competition in banking what other industry gets margins of 2000%? Cut out the rip of middle man if you can do. Plus we have the FCA driven absurdity of 40% and 78% overdraft rates (anti-competitive one size fits all lunacy).

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      Plus of course we need a bonfire of red tape, easy hire and fire, a much smaller state sector and cheap on demand energy.

      • ukretired123
        Posted February 17, 2020 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        Flooding is of major concern across the whole country and this should be a high priority target for helping folks and communities get back on their feet!
        Funds should be mobilised and declared as little mention of help is coming out of Westminster.

        This is an ideal way to walk the talk of investing in new improvements across the country and perhaps launch several public fund initiatives whereby individuals can invest too for a good rate of return.
        The BOE is out of touch with ordinary people.
        No wonder the Labour’s rating has improved recently as there is little alternative…

      • System
        Posted February 17, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

        This easy hire and fire does not fit neatly in with the idea of getting a mortgage.Private ownership of homes does not fit in well with the whole spectrum of capitalism.The Tory Party has always been stuck with home ownership ( which of course people want ).
        To bend a saying to my will, Every people gets the level of capitalism it deserves. An unstable level in the UK, historically.Boom and bust. In and out of homes.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted February 17, 2020 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

          Well anyone can be made redundant or can fall ill and be unable to work. With easy hire and fire most people who are good employees can find a new job very quickly and fewer barriers to employing them.

          • hefner
            Posted February 18, 2020 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

            May I ask very politely how many times you have changed jobs/employers/set up your own business(es) since leaving the university?

          • Lifelogic
            Posted February 19, 2020 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

            @Hefner

            Well just one job before setting up on my own lots of different jobs since often at the same time but all for one of my own companies.

    • Bob
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      @lifelogic
      The huge disparity between borrowing and lending rates indicates something is seriously wrong in the market. Is this blatant rip off by the banks the govt’s deliberate plan to allow them to quickly rebuild their balance sheets after the obscene excesses and incompetence which led to the 2008 financial collapse?

      Surely a return to the old style building societies would be positive move for savers and borrowers alike? We need some genuine competition in the banking sector.

      I would really like to hear our host’s opinion on this subject.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 17, 2020 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

        Indeed. Also the fact that they rate do not reflect the different risk of the borrowers is absurd.

  4. DOMINIC
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    Too Keynesian. Too woke. Too interventionist. All macro and no micro. Three individuals set up Apple to become one of the largest companies in the world. Yes, three people. I let that sink in. Don’t you get it?

    Business growth is not about politics and woke interference but about the real world application of the imagination. This takes time, sometimes years

    Reply The Fed is putting $60bn a month into markets to help companies like Apple. Do you always have to be so aggressively negative?

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply:
      You’re (probably deliberately) missing the point. Companies like Apple come about despite intervention, not because of it. Nobody can deny, however, that they needed a large home market to start the snowball rolling. The EU so-called single market didn’t achieve that for us in 40 odd years – selling in France, Germany etc has been nothing like selling in the UK these past 40 years. We need the English speaking world as our new home market.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted February 17, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

        The point about micro intervention is that you’re spending money supporting provisions to ease new companies to set up, make and sell. You need to less bureaucracy, less intervention. Business rates reduction, commercial property stamp duty down, NI down, no NEST, revise GDPR to remove start-ups for 7 years, Corporation Tax holidays to allow new businesses to set up working capital without borrowing, free up employment provisions.
        You need better write off provisions to encourage capital investment.
        You need straight trade deals with US, Canada, India, Australia, NZ, then bring others in.
        All these will do far more than chucking new money into old markets.

    • Hugh
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      The Fed is putting $60bn a month into markets to stop them crashing.

      QE pushes interest rates down and house (and other asset) prices up.

      That’s not helping.

    • Enough
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      Pundits in the USA do like Apple but they say because of rules relating to how much a percentage is allowed for company investment, they will not put many more huge amounts into it.

    • Mitchel
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      Bloomberg,21/12/2019 :”The Fed is entrenched in the Repo market;how does it get out?”

      “This lack of clarity on the Fed’s long term objectives increases the likehood the central bank becomes more entrenched in the daily fabric of the funding markets.That will make it harder for the space to function on it’s own and even more difficult for policy makers to untangle themselves.

      “Every single day we’re getting our funding from the Fed,that starts to get ingrained in the business”said NatWest Markets strategist,Blake Gwinn,”the longer they go on as the major source of liquidity,the harder it’s going to be to extricate themselves.”

      That’s not capitalism,that’s sovietization.

      • Ian Kaye
        Posted February 17, 2020 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        It gets worse. From intervening at the end of the day the article I read seemed to imply that the Fed would be intervening throughout the day

      • Matthew
        Posted February 17, 2020 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        Too much Central Banking (as a lender of last resort), just makes the smaller banks take more risk because there’s a well capitalized lender of last resort. It delays any financial crises but makes them MUCH BIGGER.

        Which is then fixed by subsidizing businesses which falter, which is corporate socialism.

        As with anything a little is ok, too much is a problem.

        Expansion of Central Bank power can and will suffocate the economy.

      • acorn
        Posted February 17, 2020 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

        Mitchel, the FED can shut down the repo market anytime it wants. The FED is simply turning US Treasury Bills; Notes and Bonds, back into the “reserves” that bought them originally. Reserves that were created and spent / issued into the US economy, by the US government via its Federal Treasury, that were subsequently used to buy the Bills; Notes and Bonds originally.

        There is no operational requirement for the US Treasury or the BoE to issue Bills; Notes and Bonds / Gilts to finance US / UK government spending. Both issue their own monopoly, tax driven currencies, which they will never run out of. BUT, they can only issue such quantities of their monopoly currencies to the extant that they just use up all the workers and physical resources to the point of creating excessive inflation.

    • Richard
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      re Reply… On Wall Street, it is more than that:- “Cumulatively, since the Fed began making these unprecedented repo loans to Wall Street’s trading houses on September 17 of last year, it has pumped over $6.6 TRILLION into Wall Street… The Federal Reserve and the New York Fed seem to have caught themselves in a trap of their own making. They turn off the money spigot and the market plunges. They leave it on and the market becomes an even bigger bubble.” https://wallstreetonparade.com/2020/02/the-fed-has-a-dangerous-repo-problem-heres-the-charts/

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    So the Met Office has a new £billion super computer. I assume this will enable them to get their (invariably wrong in one direction) alarmist climate predictions out far more quickly. Rubbish in rubbish out is the rule with computing. Best to stick with predications for 100 years then we will all be dead and these predictions forgotten before they are shown to be wrong.

    You cannot accurately predict chaotic climate systems, especially when you do not even have all the inputs known. When they can predict accurately the climate for say this March, May or July perhaps let them move on to next year. Is anyone employed by the Met office not a climate alarmist believer? Non that you see on TV sound like sensible, rational, honest physicists or mathematicians.

    • Andy
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      You confuse weather and climate. They are now very good at forecasting the weather for the week ahead. Weather is what happens today, tomorrow and for the rest of this week. They are still not able to forecast the weather with any uncertainty beyond the short term.

      But climate is not weather. And it turns out they are very good at forecasting climate too. The predictions of what will happen with man made climate change are coming true.

      A scientist friend of mine once described forecasting climate change like heating a saucepan of water on a hob. You know it is getting hotter but what you can’t tell is when and where in the pan the first bubbles will appear.

      In any case you and most of the elderly climate sceptics on this blog are an irrelevance in this debate. We are fixing our planet – and you cannot stop us.

      • Cheshire Girl
        Posted February 17, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

        Give it a break, will you Andy!

        The ‘elderly’ bit is getting very tiresome.

      • Edward2
        Posted February 17, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

        So where is the rapid rise in temperature for post 2000 that your super computers predicted?
        With CO2 still rising why has the rate of increase fallen?

        Is that why warmists have had to move to claiming every colder, wetter, hotter, dryer event on the planet is now proof.
        When it suits you its climate, when it doesn’t it is just weather.

        Now that the predictions of extinction for Polar bears has not happened I notice they have quietly given up and moved onto Penguins as their new poster boy.

        Fix the planet, what a joke.
        Most of you lot couldn’t even keep your rooms tidy.

        • prigger jnr
          Posted February 17, 2020 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

          Edward2 you are funny. Young people speak like an audio comic. I guess we all did.

        • bill brown
          Posted February 17, 2020 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

          Edward2

          Totally unnecessary preaching with no facts or proof of your statements

          • NickC
            Posted February 17, 2020 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

            Bill B, Totally unnecessary criticism with no facts or proof of your views.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 17, 2020 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

            Complete twaddle from you as usual bill.
            My post was based on facts.
            Put up or shut up bill.

        • hefner
          Posted February 17, 2020 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

          So Sir John, where is my post with data from NOAA? Disappeared? Curious and curiouser.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 17, 2020 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

            Hef
            I used data from the excellent woodfortrees.org
            It collates raw data from all the main climate web sites.
            Not NOAA though…

          • steve
            Posted February 17, 2020 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

            hefner

            err….copyright perhaps ?

          • hefner
            Posted February 18, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

            Edward2, I have just spent 20 minutes looking at woodsfortree, not including NOAA, but a number of other results, discussing the different baselines (20 or 30 years, starting in 1951 or later), fitting segments over different periods, etc. It looks like a very good site, thanks for pointing it out (so in a way here I am apologising for the previous ‘sneer’).
            Now I cannot understand how using the curves from that website, you still say there is no rapid rise in temperature: is an average rise of 0.2 degC per decade not enough for you, with its resulting occurrences of drought, heavy precipitation event, …?

          • Edward2
            Posted February 18, 2020 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

            I was referring to the rate of rise since 2000.
            It is less than predicted.
            I recall many loud predictions of a tipping point being reached at 2000 and warnings of an increase in the rate of warming.
            That has not happened.
            The post 2000 graphs show no such increase in the rate.
            Still rising but not what the models predicted.
            Still only 1.3 degrees increase since 1850.
            When every drought or flood or cold spell or heatwave anywhere on Earth is claimed to be proof of climate change then the warmists in my opinion are getting desperate.
            I’m looking at data and the long term warming data doesn’t show we are all going to burn and die in 12 years time.
            But I’m glad you like the website I found.

          • hefner
            Posted February 18, 2020 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

            Steve, the site is public as are all data from NOAA paid by the US taxpayer (or those from the MetOffice metoffice.gov.uk “Weather and climate data” paid by the UK taxpayer).
            Just go to the relevant site, register and download what you want. You might need some knowledge about netcdf to read the files but that can be done on a present-day PC or Mac.

        • APL
          Posted February 18, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

          “With CO2 still rising why has the rate of increase fallen?”

          CO2 concentrations are now considered to be a trailing indiciator of warming. That is, increasing CO2 today, suggests there was a temperature rise about 800 years ago.

      • agricola
        Posted February 17, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

        How do you and your friend know that climate change is down to man. You seem to discount the Sun which has been at it for billions of years. The Sun has not stopped it’s activities just because a few fanatics in need of a cause wish to blame man.

        Man should be cleaning up the environment with the objective of making life much healthier. However when this has been achieved prepare yourself for disolusionment when the Sun carries on with it’s dastardly work. Mind you by then you will have discovered some other baseless cause to hang your evangelical hat on.

      • Wil Pretty
        Posted February 17, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

        Andy
        In most societies it has been found that it pays to take advice from those with experience. It saves the new generation from going down dead ends and fitting square wheels to thier vehicles.

      • Richard1
        Posted February 17, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        The IEA reports global dependence on fossil fuels at c 80%, and forecasts no material reduction over the next 2-3 decades. So to the extent CO2 emissions really are a climate emergency – and comparing the forecasts over the last 30 years with the actual out-turn suggests it has at least been exaggerated – no-one is ‘fixing’ anything.

        The sensible solutions available now are shale gas and nuclear, but leftists and environmental hysterics are against those for some reason.

        • NickC
          Posted February 17, 2020 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

          Richard1, You are correct. But Andy does not want cost effective solutions because he is determined to make his own children poorer.

          • bill brown
            Posted February 18, 2020 at 1:14 am | Permalink

            NIckc

            If you have to write such rubbish then just leave it

          • Edward2
            Posted February 18, 2020 at 10:33 am | Permalink

            bill It is time for you to prove what you say.
            Many can see that Extinction Rebellion’s policies would make andy’s children and the rest of us much poorer.
            If you think that belief is “such rubbish” then prove it.

      • Dee
        Posted February 17, 2020 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

        Till the mouse turns then watch out boy!

      • Wil Pretty
        Posted February 17, 2020 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

        Andy
        ‘We are fixing our planet.’
        Is that ‘we’ you and XR?
        If it were you + China + India then that would work

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 17, 2020 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        Sure mate – as a mathematician/physicist/engineer I am hardly likely confuse climate with weather. Climate is just average weather. You can average it over a day, a month, a year, a hundred years or one thousand or any other interval you choose.

        One cannot even predict the sun’s activity for next month, volcanic activity, genetic changes in plants, meteor impacts, when we will crack nuclear fusion, how many people will die in pandemics, population changes, wars and millions & millions of other relevant things. So how pray do you think you can predict the climate in 50 0r 100 years? This even with a very expensive £1.2 billion tax funded computer project?

        Plus of course the “renewables” and electric car “solutions” proposed make virtually no difference to C02 levels anyway all things considered.

      • forthurst
        Posted February 17, 2020 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

        “We are fixing our planet – and you cannot stop us.” Superb! As to Andy’s “scientist friend” who is doing some original research on the latent heat of steam, perhaps he would like to give Piers Corbyn of Weather Action some of his insights into the forces of nature and how they cannot be forecasted accurately even with one billion pound computers so the computer sitting on Pier’s desk will certainly not cut the mustard. Firstly he will need to convince Piers that he should focus exclusively on man made CO2, particularly that from the No 7 bus which is far closer than the Sun and whose electromagnetic emanations can therefore safely be ignored.

      • NickC
        Posted February 17, 2020 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

        Andy, The predictions of CAGW have never come true.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted February 18, 2020 at 7:43 am | Permalink

          The statistics from around the world seem to suggest that they are all coming true as we write.

          Increased precipitation for the UK being one of them.

          We have had four “once-in-two-hundred-years” events in the last ten years now.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 18, 2020 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

            It seems only yesterday we were being warned about severe water shortages caused by the very same thing.

          • NickC
            Posted February 18, 2020 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

            Martin, So flooding – actually caused by overbuilding, building in the wrong place, and lack of drainage – is the sort of extinction global catastrophe that was predicted by Prince Charles (2009 – less than 100 months to save the planet) and Prof Sir David King (2004 – Antarctic only habitable continent by 2100)? Get a grip.

      • steve
        Posted February 17, 2020 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        Andy

        I sometimes agree with much of what you say, but then a dig at the elderly just kills it.

        I think you should give the pensioner thing a rest mate, it isn’t healthy.

      • steve
        Posted February 17, 2020 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

        Andy

        “You know it is getting hotter but what you can’t tell is when and where in the pan the first bubbles will appear.”

        At the area of heating. And you say your friend is a scientist ?

    • Wil Pretty
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic
      This will make the met office wrong,
      but with more precision.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 17, 2020 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        Wrong more quickly too.

      • hefner
        Posted February 17, 2020 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        Oh how funny!
        And where you think the DEFRA Environment Agency has their precipitation forecasts they put in river basin models to forecast several days/hours in advance where floods are likely to occur, and warn people of the potential danger.

        • Edward2
          Posted February 17, 2020 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

          They just put several hundred warnings out and by the laws of probability get a few right.
          EG
          Worcester and areas near the River Severn…wow what a surprise.

          • bill brown
            Posted February 18, 2020 at 1:17 am | Permalink

            Edward 2

            I think some more etiquette might be appropriate.

            thank you

          • Edward2
            Posted February 18, 2020 at 10:34 am | Permalink

            Just post something that has some real argument or data or facts yourself bill and I might take you seriously.

          • hefner
            Posted February 18, 2020 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

            The problem could be the censorship that our kind host appears to be putting at times on some subjects!

          • bill brown
            Posted February 18, 2020 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

            Edward 2

            I have no intention of spending my time trying to prove anything to you

          • Edward2
            Posted February 18, 2020 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

            Well we are making progress then bill.

    • agricola
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      In fairness to the Met Office and computer designers they have the ultimate difficult task in predicting weather longterm for the UK. We are in a low pressure band between the highs of the Arctic and the Azores. Look upon it as a fast flowing stream between two mountain ranges north and south that are themselves shifting their position. Inputs to the stream comes from mainland USA and the Caribean, inputs that are themselves highly variable. Add to that the circulation of water in the Atlantic which also has variable inputs. In such a highly variable situation a seven day accurate forecast is no mean achievement.

      Climate is long term weather. I have said all I need to say on this subject many times. We ignore the Sun and blame man which can only result in disappointment. Flooding is horrific, I have experienced it, so I am very sympathetic to those who are currently suffering it. It’s prevention and insurance consequences are down to man.

      The one positive aspect of our weather is having Lucy Verasamy explain it to me on TV from time to time.

    • glen cullen
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      weatheraction has been predicting long-term weather forecasts accurately for years without a super computer…..only reply when you’ve visited their website and reviewed the facts

      • hefner
        Posted February 17, 2020 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        I am surprised you can say such a thing as WeatherAction actually sells its forecasts. Are you a regular buyer?
        Its website is certainly colourful but that does not say anything about the quality y of the forecasts. And as Piers Corbyn/WeatherAction refuses to participate in the World Meteorological Organization monthly comparisons of daily scores provided by all national meteorological centres like the US NCEP, the UK MetOffice, the Japanese JMA, the European ECMWF, the German DWD, MeteoFrance, … except if you are running yourself such a comparison with WeatherAction results I doubt very much that your statement is nothing else than some belief in Piers Corbyn, but unsupported by any proof.

        • glen cullen
          Posted February 18, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

          £35 per month on weatheraction long term forecast and £1bn on flood defence

          or

          £1bn on new super computer long term forecast and £35 per month on flood defence

          • hefner
            Posted February 18, 2020 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

            I don’t intend to pay £35, but out of curiosity are precipitations and wind strength and direction parts of the forecasts you get?

      • Fred H
        Posted February 17, 2020 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

        You do realise the small weather startups alternative to the Met Office utilise the FREE data collected, edited, verified etc etc ? Perhaps you imagine they spend millions doing it all themselves?
        We all know they hang seaweed out of the windows, and study the sky all day, and check last year’s record – and then think about yesterday’s weather which has a 40% chance of being the same today?
        January and February cold and wet, March winds, April showers – maybe signs of spring – see its easy. I can do it on the back of a fag packet!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 17, 2020 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

        Corbyn’s rather brighter brother. A first in Physics at Imperial and sound on Climate Alarmism as most sensible physicists are I find.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted February 18, 2020 at 7:46 am | Permalink

          Yes, of course there is an alarmist wing of the consensus. That does not invalidate the good sense of the rest of it.

          It is the latter which informs sensible governments.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 18, 2020 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

            Which is why the UK has passed into law the radical and challenging Climate Change Act.
            And has recently announced the net carbon neutral target.
            And is spending many billions on renewable subsidies.
            Yet ER and others talk as if nothing was being done.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted February 19, 2020 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

            What is “being done” is idiotic and hugely damaging.

  6. Andy
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Let’s stop giving handouts to banks. Let’s stop giving handouts to rich pensioners. Let’s stop giving tax breaks to billionaires. Let’s get our economy moving by giving money to real people who need it and who will spend it.

    £5000 to each working household which earns below median income. We can get the money by clamping down on the billionaire Tory donor tax avoiders and by scrapping pensions and old age perks.

    That’ll fix the economy.

    • Fred H
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      Agree in helping but not by a handout. Ease income tax deduction for the low paid and other social issues will reduce, workers will have more pride and perform better without handouts. Increase basic allowance and steadily raise 40% threshold.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      £5,000 to below median households – are you mad? One of the main ways of government to maintain the value of the pound is to make it very difficult for ordinary people to get money, yet requiring them to pay their taxes using it.
      Distributing it virtually freely to the banks is OK though.

    • Edward2
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      Those less well off families already get big Government subsidies.
      Minimal income tax
      Child Benefits
      Tax credits
      Housing benefits.
      And your hated top earners pay nearly a third of all income tax.

      • bill brown
        Posted February 17, 2020 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

        Edward2

        well covered but I am not sure it is as easy as you make it out to be and I am not sure the subsidies are as good as you present them?

        • Edward2
          Posted February 17, 2020 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

          Compared to middle earning families they are bill.
          Why not check the data and get back to us with your own views.
          Andy wants an extra £5000 per year to be given to less well off families.
          I’m just pointing out that less well off families already have a decent set of benefits to help them.
          Apart from free schools free health of course.
          I’m not against the help they get one little bit.

    • Glenn Vaughan
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      “Let’s get our economy moving by giving money to real people who need it…” Andy

      Agreed. Abolish the entire overseas aid budget and give the proceeds to permanent UK residents aged 60 and above!

      • Bob
        Posted February 17, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink

        The saving from scrapping the overseas 0.7% would solve the problem of long term care for the elderly and infirm.

        The money is often just used by NGOs to fund their jollies [etc.]

        Overseas aid should be replaced with emergency aid.

        • glen cullen
          Posted February 17, 2020 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

          I remember watching (10-15yrs ago) a debate from leading industrialists and academia from South Africa telling the UN to stop giving them aid….they realised that it was stopping growth and just lining the pockets of politicians

      • Andy
        Posted February 17, 2020 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

        Less than 1% of my tax goes to overseas aid. Almost half of my tax goes to old people – pensions, social care, free everything, extra NHS care. Old people tell me they need these handouts. And yet all the old people I know have enough cash to take several expensive overseas holidays a year. Why are we giving money to people who have lots of it who speed vast sums overseas anyway? Genuinely we need to turn off the tap for the elderly. You’ve all had it too easy for too long.

        • NickC
          Posted February 17, 2020 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

          Andy, The tax and benefit system in the UK is set up so that those who work pay in, and those that don’t – mainly the young and the old – are supported. That cycle is repeated for everyone – including you. Don’t you even know that’s how it works? Or is just your hate?

        • Edward2
          Posted February 17, 2020 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

          You are including social care for the elderly, health care for disabled and older people in your rant.
          What would you do with those of us who get old and infirm or disabled and therefore need help?
          Throw them onto the cold streets to die?

          Pensions are paid for by weekly National insurance contributions paid for decades of working.
          You as an employer should know that.
          It isn’t welfare it is money paid into a scheme which now pays a weekly pension.
          Many set aside extra income to pay into a private pension or have saved up over decades and that is why they have a bit of spare cash to go on the odd holiday.

          Your hatred of the elderly is dreadful and forgets that in a few years it will be you.

        • APL
          Posted February 17, 2020 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

          Andy: “Almost half of my tax goes to old people – pensions, social care, free everything, extra NHS care.”

          I find it difficult to believe you pay any tax, Andy.

          But, in your complaint about government provision of pensions, you are correct. It should be the obligation of the individual.

          National Insurance is a ponzi scam, which if it were operating in the Private sector would be illegal.

          There was a commentor here, I think Nick, who pointed out that the National Insurance was a deception and a fraud. If an individual saved his National insurance stamp instead of paying it to the government, could at the point of his retirement, expect a significant sum more in pension provision that he can currently entitled to in State pension. National Insurance also has that other characteristic of a Ponzi scheme, if requires more and more people to pay into it in order not to collapse in bankruptcy.

          So, if you genuinely believe the government shouldn’t be providing pensions for old people. You have a point.

          But, you assertion that you pay tax, now that’ll require some corroboration.

        • The Anti Andy
          Posted February 17, 2020 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

          Meanwhile, in the real world, it’s the BBC that looks like having the taps turned off, not old people.

          You’re losing. You just don’t get it.

          • Andy
            Posted February 17, 2020 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

            Really?

            The Tory manifesto pledges carbon zero by 2050 with no new petrol cars by 2035.

            Johnson has backed HS2 – and committed huge amounts to infrastructure spending which I support.

            Gay marriage – introduced by a Conservative government – is a normal part of life.

            This is all stuff you lot hate. It is all stuff I support. And it was all introduced by a party well to the right of centre.

            I’d say I’ve won.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 18, 2020 at 10:43 am | Permalink

            You reply is a complete red herring andy.
            You are wrongly assuming everybody except you dislikes the policies you list.

            The current Government has no plans for removing any benefits from old people at all.
            In fact further policies to benefit old people are coming soon like improved funding methods for those needing end of life care.

            So that is the next ten years you can sit typing away, all bitter and angry.

        • Fedupsoutherner
          Posted February 18, 2020 at 1:07 am | Permalink

          Andy yet another post full of hatred and a way of you trying to get attention. What a sad individual you are.

    • agricola
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      Yes banking is in need of radical reform. They the banks no longer provide a service to their customers through lack of real competition between banks. There are too many pay day loan companies preying on the weak in society. Put an end to them.

      Can’t recall ever receiving any form of hand out from my pension companies. Billionaires do not need tax breaks, they keep their tax centres where it is most beneficial. This is just an over emotional political rant on your part Andy. The only group I know of who give themselves financial immunities not enjoyed by the population at large are MPs. Your Robin Hood naive suggestions may appeal to your political thinking but what do you plan for next year when the wealthy have departed. Dare I suggest that if you feel the need for an extra £5000 you get out and earn it.

      • Cheshire Girl
        Posted February 17, 2020 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

        Agricola

        I agree. If Andy thinks that all pensioners have several expensive overseas holidays a year, he needs to get out more.

        As for ‘turning the tap off’, perhaps he could suggest that to the HMRC, who, since I lost my Husband of fifty years, 18 months ago, has been charging me a hell of a lot of Income Tax.

        Free everything, my a…..se!

        • margaret howard
          Posted February 18, 2020 at 12:05 am | Permalink

          Cheshire Girl

          Well you can’t be that hard up if they charge you such a lot of tax. Plus a house worth nth times more than what you paid for all those years ago? Sell it and treat yourself to those nice expensive overseas holidays.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 18, 2020 at 10:45 am | Permalink

            A post in very poor taste Margaret.
            I realise you are very left wing but you are also usually decent and polite.

    • BJC
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      Andy: So how would you deal with this “old” person who has never earned the median income, but who went without to buy her own home, which just happens to have gained disproportionately in value? Am I rich? Am I real?

    • steve
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      Andy

      “Let’s stop giving handouts to banks. Let’s stop giving handouts to rich pensioners. Let’s stop giving tax breaks to billionaires. Let’s get our economy moving by giving money to real people who need it and who will spend it.”

      …..agreed.

  7. APL
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Lifelogic: “I assume this will enable them to get their (invariably wrong in one direction) alarmist climate predictions ”

    Scaremongering. That’s how they justified the budget for a new machine, only fifteen years after they bought their last machine.

    • jerry
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      @APL; In high end computing 15 years is prehistoric, heck 15 years is akin to the iron age when talking about home computers, are you really still using Win98 (or the Mac equivalent) with that era hardware?!

      • APL
        Posted February 17, 2020 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

        jerry; “are you really still using Win98 ”

        It’s not really the same Jerry. Windows is an operating system, it has the notable ability to take reasonable performing hardware and turn it into something you wantto upgrade.

        • jerry
          Posted February 18, 2020 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

          @APL; You seem to forget that old software will often not run new hardware.

          Many people found this out to their cost back when Win98 was not even a year old, having bought 1st release copies, trying to use Firewire (IEEE1394) PCI cards that required the 2nd edition of Win98.

          I could cite other software and hardware that would not run unless the otherwise suitable motherboard was fitted with specific versions from the then Intel CPU range, any other (at the time modern) CPU could not be used because they lacked a specific set of instruction only found in the firmware instruction set of those specific CPUs.

          So it is often easier to build/buy new than try and upgrade, certainly if it is in front line revenue service – wasn’t there a bank a year or two back who bitterly regretted using the cheaper upgrade route rather than the more expensive new build, then bring that new system on-line, via a controlled roll-out..

    • Fred H
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      Having some real knowledge about it, I can assure readers the present machine is brilliant as opposed to Win 98 and most of its reincarnations which were quite different items of technology and flawed. It is basically a rather fast calculating machine and still works fine and would for many years to come. The proposal is to acquire (and probably share resource like before) a much faster calculator, and plan an upgrade 5 years after, which will enable much more frequent model reruns and to a smaller geographical grid of the earth. Seems expensive of course but £1bn compared to £105bn for a faster train is a bargain.

      • APL
        Posted February 17, 2020 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

        Fred H: “Having some real knowledge about it [….] Win98 […] ”

        I’m sorry Fred, but you are confusing the computer hardware with the operating system. I’d be amazed if the Met office were running win 98 on a machine Hefner describes as a Cray.

        For a start Windows 98 was barely an operating system, it was a GUI on top of MSDOS. a Cray supercomputer is not an operating system, although it will have one, but it’ll probably be a variant of Unix, possibly Linux.

        By comparing two dissimilar things, you seem to be undermining your claim to ‘have some real knowledge about it’.

        Fred H; “but £1bn compared to £105bn for a faster train is a bargain.”

        agree.

        • Fred H
          Posted February 18, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

          APL – – I wrote ‘were quite different items of technology ‘ – read what I wrote.
          I just happened to be there for previous supercomputer installations.

          • APL
            Posted February 18, 2020 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

            Fred H: “read what I wrote”

            I did. I have again. I still take away the same meaning I drew from the first pass.

            Windows 98 and a Cray are not simply different technologies, they were and are different generations of technology.

            There is no comparison to be drawn in sophistication, nor capability.

            But anyway. It’s not important.

    • hefner
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      APL: Fifteen years? The present machine, Cray XC40 became operational in December 2016.

    • DaveK
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      3 years old, started in 2015 and completed fitting in 2017 for £97 million.

  8. Ian Kaye
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    The Bank would want to unwind its Treasury Bill position prior to or at the same time as hiking base rate.Since the hike is years off it’s not relevant

  9. Kevin
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    “Commercial banks need to know the Central Bank is not about to squeeze them or damage them as the Bank of England did in 2008-9”

    In spite of Hollywood’s reputation for casting Englishmen in the role of movie villain, I missed the part in The Big Short where they attributed the financial crisis to the actions of our central bank.

  10. DOMINIC
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    ‘Major investors warn Government over national infrastructure bank plans. There are fears the private sector will be crowded out should a public bank replace the EIB.’

    Honestly, this is 1970’s Corporatist crap. We may as well bring Heath back. Johnson’s just another clueless Keynesian politician desperately trying to control rather than liberate

    He needs to understand one simple fact. He’s the PM because the leader of Labour was a Marxist Anglophobe.

  11. Everhopeful
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Is 1.6% the actual rate…up from 1.3%? Or is 1.6% a projection?
    I can only find figures for January and I note that the BoE website is very much baby talk with few figures.
    If it has gone up by a small amount that’s good I suppose?
    Might stave off the expected rate cut. ( Winners and losers as ever!)
    We are all still paying for salami slicing and QE?
    (And flooded places paying for EU anti dredging directives and overdevelopment).

    • Dee
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      Trouble is, savers are always the ‘loser’ and have been for the last ten years.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      There has never been any dredging in the Pennine Calder valley nor in Pontypridd.

      It may have a bearing on lowland flooding, but not on the recent outbreak.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted February 17, 2020 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

        Of course they were dredged! All rivers were until we adopted The European Water Framework Directive in 2000.
        In mediaeval times both the Calder and Taff were navigable. Because roads were virtually non existent we depended on river transport …and they had to be kept flowing!
        Paving over front gardens, building on flood plains, ripping up trees and too much building have also led to flooding.

        • Edward2
          Posted February 17, 2020 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

          Well said Everhopeful.
          The other dreadful part of that directive is classifying any debris cleared out of ditches or streams or rivers adjacent to anyone’s land as being hazardous waste.
          Therefore you need Local Authority permission and the disposal costs per tonne are high.
          It has led to a huge reduction in vital clearing work and is another reason why floods are more common.
          And major rivers are rarely dredged due to green policies in the EA who don’t want nature disturbed.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted February 18, 2020 at 7:48 am | Permalink

          Rubbish. They are rocky-bedded at those reaches.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 18, 2020 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

            You pick two tiny areas of the UK martin.
            The problem is nationwide and caused by the wrong policies.
            It applies to coastal erosion defence where again the general EA policy is not to interfere with nature.

  12. Lifelogic
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    The Telegraph today has a leader with the headline – “Landlords bow out”. This due to the absurd double taxation of landlord interest and the extra 3% stamp duty and bank lending restrictions and high margins on lending to this sector.

    What is driving this government insanity? We need homes to rent and homes to buy too. Some people need flexibility often they do not wish to buy they might only be in that area for a short time anyway so no point in buying for such a short term. Students for example or short term contracts.

    Taxing landlords on profits they are not even making is economic insanity, totally unsustainable, pushes up rents and decreases supply of properties. What irrational idiots are driving this insane agenda pushed by the dire Hammond. It needs to be reversed.

    Is the Benn Act Traitor Mr David Gauke now a permanent BBC employee? He seems to be on almost every single day?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      A change of direction on this should be announced or at least indicated by the new Chancellor now. It is hugely damaging to landlords and tenants alike and has no benefits for anyone. Not even the taxman in the long term.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      The leader ends with :- “The interconnectivity of the property market is often lost on governments that fail to see that a policy tweak in one area can have a knock-on effect down the line. Further changes are in the pipeline, including new tenancy laws limiting the ability of landlords to reclaim their properties quickly. This will push more landlords out of the market. How long before we have a renting crisis?”

      Indeed but many entirely obvious things are “lost on governments”.
      Such as the expensive energy policy exporting jobs and industries and not even saving any net world CO2. (Not that CO2 is really a significant issue anyway).

  13. ian terry
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Sir John

    There is nothing wrong with some increase in credit to people in jobs to buy homes and cars,

    Too true but as per usual the decision makers seem to have as usual somewhat shot themselves in the foot. In the middle east, countries work on the principle that “a little often is better than a one off hit” So by dramatically hittting the car market the income from people buying new cars let alone any cars must impact on the treasury coffers.

    The generally perceived envy tax on cars over £40k is damaging and it is hurting all the wrong people. The critical mass, those in work and with a solid financial foundation will always aspire to have a quality item for their self belief is, that it is worth working for, and why not who can knock it?

    If JLR, BMW, VW and Renault were selling more of their mid to upper range cars at least the treasury would be getting something against the existing situation of the public holding back to wait and see what is going to happen. Surely as a supermarket slaogan say’s “every little helps”. A 100% of nothing is still nothing.

    For the ten years or so it is going to take to get rid of diesel why are we not encouraging the sale of these types of vehicles it keeps jobs and money coming in for the company and tax receipts for the treasury. The impact on CO2 will be minimal as the rise in EVs will off set the emmissions from the new vehicles therefore retaining the status quo.

    The problem is that the motor industry and its customers has always been a soft touch because the politicians know that as in the past the motorist will squeal and moan but they will will finally put their hand in their pocket or borrow more than they had planned. It is this mentality that is being applied at the moment but as you have highlighted it is not working too well .

    The new chancellor should be bold enough to start practicing the “little often” style of operating and allow those who can afford and want to buy a new vehicle the opportunity to do so and not be hammered with the higher taxes based on cost of the vehicle. If he feels that a higher rate is necessary then put the thresehold at £80k. My thoughts are the more top of the range stuff being sold albeit cars, caravans or boats if people can afford it let them have it, keep the work force working and get the taxes from them and the company who will be in a position to pay them, rather than the laying off or down sizing of production as the public play lets wait and see. In a real more open and competitive market it will be up to the manufacturers and their outlets to decide on any discounts that would be available to win the deal. A lot can happen in ten years and this country needs our industrial base to keep operating and its skilled highly trained workforce together especially should another fuel option become available that can still use the existing engines.

  14. Jim
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    A little while back the BoE blog Bank Underground suggested that low interest rates were one cause of high house prices – easy money for buyers means sellers gouge more. Dropping interest rates will probably have the same effect on car prices and other goods, gouge the consumers a bit more. But in the same article some caution was expressed as to consumers overreaching themselves and the subsequent political fallout. Too much of our national resource goes on housing.

    Easy enough to stimulate consumers but what about businesses. Certainly stimulating consumers will liven up some businesses in the short term. But that only lasts until the stimulus has to be toned down.

    The question is whether the Treasury is prepared to go for bust and keep the stimulus going for say a decade while giving further stimulus to business whilst at the same time supporting education and culture. At the same time the incumbent government cutting out barriers to trade and avoiding foolish diversions. At the same time cutting out the gouging problem. Past experience suggests not. That is the problem with relying on stimulus, knowing when you can turn it off and knowing whether the economy has achieved ignition or splutter.

    Something else is needed to revive the animal spirits. I suggest pushing the Green Belt out by say 1 mile from all villages and 5 miles from all towns and cities with a presumption pro businesses. Sure, a bit of whining will ensue but some long lasting stimulus will also follow and consumers will not be wasting all their resources on housing.

  15. Reaction Harry
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Is the availability and cost of credit less important than the reluctance of business to take up credit against a backdrop of an uncertain economic environment? Biggest risks which would likely affect my thinking would be Brexit negotiations, government tax versus spending policy, corona virus impact, and stock market recession. Too risky at present, so wait until the clouds clear.

  16. acorn
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    UK Banks have Tier 1 capital at circa 17.6%, it has been forced up from the basic 11% suggested by the FPC back in 2014. Banks “risk-weighted assets” (mostly loans) are a lot riskier nowadays, the Bank of England doesn’t have any regulatory tools to fix customers that can’t pay back loans; only a deficit spending Treasury can do that.

    Private sector debt is increasing, households have been running a sectoral net deficit since 2017. In fact, all UK sectors are running net deficits to pay for the imports! Banks have all the assets they need to make loans; BUT, finding customers with secure income that can pay back those loans has become the problem. https://obr.uk/forecasts-in-depth/the-economy-forecast/net-lending-and-balance-sheets/

  17. NickC
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    JR, You cite 1.6% inflation without indicating the method of measuring it. Is it CPI, CPIH, or what? I expect my Council Tax to rise by double, or more, of that 1.6%. Indeed my CT is now approaching all my other utility bills combined (gas, electricity, water, broadband, phone) – admittedly mainly thanks to privatisation, of course.

  18. Richard1
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Ok but at the same time I suggest that the govt now makes explicitly clear that in any new financial crisis depositors will be protected to the stated limit but that the price of any equity infusion required by an insolvent bank from the state will be zero – and if the value on a rigorous analysis breaks in the debt, below zero. Ie shareholders and if needed larger creditors and bond-holders will pay. That’s more or less the only regulation needed. If you had that and it was believed the leverage problem, which continues especially in many EU countries, would solve itself.

  19. ian terry
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    people in jobs to buy homes and cars,

    The problem is that the motor industry especially and its customers has always been a soft touch because the politicians know that as in the past the motorist will squeal and moan but they will will finally put their hand in their pocket or borrow more than they had planned. It is this mentality that is being applied at the moment but as you have highlighted it is not working too well .

    The new chancellor should be bold enough to start practising the “little often” style of operating and allow those who can afford and want to buy a new vehicle the opportunity to do so and not be hammered with the higher taxes based on cost of the vehicle. If he feels that a higher rate is necessary then put the threshold at £80k. My thoughts are the more top of the range stuff being sold albeit cars, caravans or boats if people can afford it let them have it, keep the work force working and get the taxes from them and the company who will be in a position to pay them, rather than the laying off or down sizing of production as the public play lets wait and see. In a real more open and competitive market it will be up to the manufacturers and their outlets to decide on any discounts that would be available to win the deal. A lot can happen in ten years and this country needs our industrial base to keep operating and its skilled highly trained workforce together especially should another fuel option become available that can still use the existing engines.

  20. Adam Connolly
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    While I usually agree with most of what you say, I’m perpetually bemused by your inability to see inflation in the economy.

    Is inflation supposed to capture the cost of living?

    Then let’s take a look at the price of buying or renting somewhere to live – the key expenditure associated with living (after food, which is proportionately small).

    What’s been happening to the cost of housing? How is this reflected in the inflation data? What does this mean for risk and leverage in the economy?

    A simplistic analysis that low published inflation data = monetary policy should be loose, is very dangerous. Surely we should have learnt that in 2008.

    Take a look at what the BIS is saying about the level of debt / leverage in the global economy (it’s not good).

    Biased inflation data + dodgy economic models (hello, efficient market hypothesis) nearly drove us off a cliff in 2008. Since then the BoE had doubled down on the model of perpetual debt driven expansion.

    Or to simplify things: Mr. Redwood, if you don’t think there’s inflation in the economy, I’ll buy your house from you for whatever you paid for it when you bought it + the official rate of inflation since then

    Reply. You are confusing relative real prices with general inflation. The aim is gentle inflation not disinflation.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      Ha! They took house prices out of the “inflation basket” in 2003.
      Probably suited the then PM because house price rise was running at 20%..no more “boom and bust”.

    • APL
      Posted February 18, 2020 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      JR: “You are confusing relative real prices with general inflation. ”

      I guess Adam Connolly, you’re not going to get any of Redwoods houses.

      JR: “The aim is gentle inflation not disinflation.”

      You want ‘gentle inflation’, not because it is beneficial to the economy, nor an individuals wealth in the economy. But because rampant inflation will have everyone out on the streets.

      I’d ask you for an article where you put forward the benefits of Inflation compared to the disadvantages of ‘gentle deflation’.

      Reply It’s the establishment view baked into all those Central Banks aiming for 2%

      • APL
        Posted February 19, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

        JR: “It’s the establishment view baked into all those Central Banks aiming for 2%”

        It was the establishment view that we, the UK should remain a member of the European Union. But you didn’t slavishly follow it on that occasion.

        If ‘modest inflation’ can be beneficial, them modest deflation could also have benefits.

        I’d argue, we haven’t had modest inflation for a century. Cumulative inflation has made the British poorer, and allowed the non productive state sector, of which Parliamentarians are a powerful section, to grow fat at the expense of the rest of the population.

  21. Everhopeful
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    MSM ( and some posters here) often suggest that THE big economic problem is “ Boomers” blocking the housing market with their “undeserved” houses and sitting resolutely on their warm “nest eggs“ (aka their hard-earned pensions).
    Surely then the solution would be to raise interest rates and risk a slightly lower inflation rate? If there was any decent interest to be had I am sure they would start spending. And goods would be cheaper and inflation would rise …usw
    (And moving house too if stamp duty were cut/abolished).
    The housing stock must be woefully in need of repair and these much maligned people dare not spend!
    Better to get poorer people to spend money they don’t have and prob can never repay than encourage those with savings to spend their interest?
    Is this lack of fiscal responsibility?

    • Everhopeful
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Oh actually…WORSE than that…it is forcing people with savings to spend!

  22. Dee
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Dear John, though most of the time I am right there with you, there are times when you make me angry. Why are you so hell bent on reducing the banks interest rates? Don’t you think we savers have suffered enough. We have lost money for the last ten years while the banks have got fat on taxpayers money. You encourage QE even though Carney stated that the money from QE has gone into the pockets of the richest 40% oof the population. Carney’s words not mine. The government want to level things up around the Country, how about leveling things up for the savers of this Country. I was told by a bank when I challenged the %rate. ‘We no longer need savers as the inter bank lending rate is so low’. Blow you jack, I’m alright.

    Reply I am not proposing a rate cut. Savers have benefitted from past QE if they held bonds|shares/property

    • margaret howard
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      And how many people benefit from that?

      • Edward2
        Posted February 17, 2020 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

        Well anyone with a pension.
        Or a home owner.
        Or a saver.

        • APL
          Posted February 19, 2020 at 7:51 am | Permalink

          Edward2: “Well anyone with a pension.”

          Not really, if you £250,000 pension fund would have bought you a decent standard of living for twenty years of retirement in 1990. But today, you need £500,000, how are you better off?

          Edward2: “Or a home owner.”

          Not really, if you owned a house rated at £250,000 and it’s increased in value to £750,000 today. The local authority will be looking to review your tax liability. The government will want a larger fraction of the value should you sell, and you’ve still to buy another house. The price of which has also increased.

          Edward: ‘Or a saver.’

          Savers have been crucified by QE. Can you find a savings account anywhere paying 3% equal to the rate of inflation, plus a margin for loss of utility of the money?

          No.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 19, 2020 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

            Your point on pensions returns is to do with Browns tax raid on dividends paid to pension funds and other attacks on pensions as well as low inflation and low interest rates

            Your point on house ownership is a hypothetical nonsense.
            There are no taxes on the capital gain on your home nor any planned.

            Saver can still get rates better than inflation especially if they se long term saving products or use unit trusts or investment bonds or invest in equities where the stock market indexes have done well.

  23. bill brown
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Sir JR

    All very practical and sensible solutions to the current lack of growth and hopefully the economy will pick up.

    However, this is also much more psychological. According to the Deloitte CFO index the majority of CFOs are still not convinced about the future and are therefore holding back on the investment level, which has fallen now for three years in a row and does not look like picking up in 2020, till the Brexit case has been sorted out.

    This is much more than just fiscal and monetary policy decisions.

    • Edward2
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      “Fallen” is a relative term.
      Investment is still steady around 45 billion a year.
      It may have reduced by a very small percentage figure but it is a marginal difference.
      Considering the real fear of a Marxist Corbyn government over the last few years it is amazing how business investment didn’t totally crash

      • bill brown
        Posted February 18, 2020 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

        £ 45 billion for a size of the UK economy is peanauts

        • Edward2
          Posted February 18, 2020 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

          Seems a big steady sum to me bill
          £45 billion is peanuts to you…wow I’m impressed.
          Still better growth in the UK than the EU.

          • bill brown
            Posted February 19, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

            it does not work just to use and average as the German economy has slowed down but almost all the neighbours grow mora than the UK

          • bill brown
            Posted February 19, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

            the UK corporate sector invests significantly less in terms of % of GDP, which you would know if you had looked it up compared to other advanced economies

          • Edward2
            Posted February 19, 2020 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

            Now you qualify your failed argument by mixing in the % of GDP of investment comparison and then by removing Germany from the EU growth figures
            Keep trying bill.

  24. formula57
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    The outrage where “Inflation is at 1.6% compared to the target of 2.0%” will just have to be suffered. I for one will grin and bear paying lower prices than wished for by the Bank.

    • miami.mode
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

      f57, the point is when was the 2% target initiated. I seem to recollect it was during the noughties Labour government when bank rate was in the 4% and 5% region.

      Complete reversal when target inflation is higher than bank rate.

  25. Stephen Reay
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    The problem with funding for lending it means poor rates of interest for all ages of savers. Why should savers be punished by the funding for lending scheme. If the banks need more money let them compete on the open market by increasing rates to get more money into the banks encouraging people of all ages to save.

    Interest rates are well below the inflation rate and it’s not morally right for goverments to allow banks to get away with this , it’s about time the goverment stopped it. Banks have begun to lower rates again over the last 2 weeks and the Bank of England haven’t even lowered rates, I know they can act independently to the Bank of England but this is unfair. The Banks and Government need to remember that it was the tax payer who baled them out. We don’t want high nterest rates, just fair interest rates, so no to funding for lending , directors will only end up giving themselves a hugh pay rise at the expense of the saver. Sir John, you should be backing the savers not suggesting ways to may them poorer.

  26. margaret
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Well at least we are not heading towards boom and bust.

  27. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Oh dear, negotiator Mr Frost is going to Brussels… why oh why can’t they come to us?
    Bad start.

    • margaret howard
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      Because there are 27 of THEM and because a minority of us voted to leave the world’s wealthiest, biggest trading bloc.

      Folie de grandeur?

      • Edward2
        Posted February 17, 2020 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

        We only had one vote in 28 when we were a member.
        With 9 paying in and the rest taking out.
        Very democratic.

        A bloc with a falling share of world trade.
        Keen on protectionist trade policies.
        Huge Euro currency debts.
        Low growth
        High unemployment and awful youth unemployment.
        Open external borders leading to great problems in nations like Greece Hungary and Italy.

        • bill brown
          Posted February 18, 2020 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

          Edward 2

          Let us try and look at this with a realistic view.
          A bloc with a significant balance of trade surplus
          Of course a falling share of world trade as very developed economies with low growth rates
          Protectionist policies is the name of the game across the world for the moment also in the US and China
          Euro debt which can be written off
          High unemployment only in selected economies
          Open external borders leading to problems , but I would rather have open borders in a ageing economies

          • Edward2
            Posted February 18, 2020 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

            Thanks for that reply bill.
            I don’t agree but good to see you going beyond one sentence responses for once.

            The EU may have a total trade surplus but the UK doesn’t have a trade surplus with the EU so your point is irrelevant.

            When I said low growth I am comparing the UK and USA to the EU not other less developed nations.

            The EU has always been protectionist the USA China thing is very recent.

            Euro debt can be written off but that will greatly diminish the status of the Euro on world markets.

            You are right high unemployment is in selected economies.
            Like Spain Italy Portugal Cyprus Greece and others.

            Open borders us creating huge problems in member nations on the outer edges of your EU, but I’m not surprised you dont care.
            The aging population argument is fundamentally an argument based on the ponzi scheme.
            Because younger immigrants get old too.

    • Posted February 17, 2020 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

      The Withdrawal Treaty gives a clue, I’m sorry to say.
      Why do we even have to negotiate?!!! It is just a pretext in order to give appalling concessions of sovereignty and surrender our country.

      • bill brown
        Posted February 19, 2020 at 2:11 am | Permalink

        Iago,

        Sovereignty in an interdependent world like ours is history book stuff

    • rose
      Posted February 18, 2020 at 12:17 am | Permalink

      He is addressing an audience, not just one or two negotiators. So that they get the point on the Continent. They probably still won’t.

      • margaret howard
        Posted February 18, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

        rose

        Get what point? That one member out of 28 wants to leave the bloc?

        It’s probably what many of them have secretly longed for seeing how unpopular we’ve made yourselves with our constant whinging and wanting special opt outs and treatment.

        Bet it won’t wash when we have to start touting for business across the globe. They don’t need awkward customers.

        • Edward2
          Posted February 18, 2020 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

          We already do trade across the globe.
          Most of our trade is non EU.
          And instead of a trade deficit with the EU we derive a big surplus with our trade with the rest of the world.

          • bill brown
            Posted February 18, 2020 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

            Edward2

            this does not necessarily means that will also be the case in the future. but an interesting observation

          • Edward2
            Posted February 18, 2020 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

            I thought it was interesting too bill
            Thanks for another of your one sentence inputs without any data or facts.

        • miami.mode
          Posted February 18, 2020 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

          ….They don’t need awkward customers…..

          That’s right, margaret. Let’s not buy any more of those German cars, but do a deal with the US so that we can get some Mustangs, Vipers, Camaros, Corvettes and other such great cars.

          • margaret howard
            Posted February 18, 2020 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

            miami mode

            So how many of those American cars are built here in the UK compared to those German cars? And how many people do they employ here compared to the German car manufacturers who also have huge investments in this country.

            Talk about cutting off your nose……

          • miami.mode
            Posted February 18, 2020 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

            margaret, you started it when you said they wouldn’t need us as customers. Why should we beg to buy from them?

          • Edward2
            Posted February 18, 2020 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

            I cant think of many German cars made here in the UK.
            Mini in Swindon is owned by BMW and Bentley and Rolls Royce arecGerman owned I think, but after that I’m struggling.
            Maybe these Americans manufacturers will open UK plants if we start buying these fine American cars and reduce our buying of French and German makes.
            Be good for Jaguar and Land Rover and Toyota and Nissan too.

  28. Matthew
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    You, sir, are a breath of fresh air.

  29. Fred H
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    OFF TOPIC.
    from BBC.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-51534446

    Cambridge Trinity College lawn dug up by Extinction Rebellion.
    What do you do about such wanton damage?
    Well, a fine for the damage to restore as best as possible – and a prison sentence.
    It will mean they have a record but such wilful damage must be made an example of.

    • rose
      Posted February 18, 2020 at 12:13 am | Permalink

      Mao made his people tear up grass because it was bourgeois. These revolutionary mobs haven’t the excuse of being made to do it.

      Anyway, grass is supposed to lock in CO2 – which is why they should be eating grass fed meat from the British Isles and not flying in tofu.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 18, 2020 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      The police seem to have been told to do nothing. Too busy recording “non crime” hate incidents by ex policemen or similar. Or telling people they cannot bother to attend burglaries, shop lifting, mugging and the likes.

  30. Hot economy
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Has the effect of forest fires in Australia had any effect on UK migration to that Continent, also to Canada with its rising home prices and declining economy? I ask because presumably the potential migrants may be in vital sectors here and with their specific buying power and 250,000 homes per annum not hitting the housing market, net., and indeed car market.

  31. Stephen Reay
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Sir John you say “Savers have benefitted from past QE if they held bonds|shares/property” . what if savers don’t have the previously mentioned and just have money in savings, are you saying thay have benefitted too, I think not.

    The government has allowed the banks to set rates below inflation and threw savers under the bus and are happy to continue to do so whilst the ecomony is poor , and yet the conservative government has been crowing on about how they’ve had growth year after year since the financial crash. If we truely were having growth interest rates wouldn’t be below the inflation curve for as long as we’ve have had. We need fair rates not high rates.

  32. Stephen Reay
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    Why doesn’t the Bank of England lend directly to business at zero% and the government could collect back the loan through increased taxs on the company profits. Should any businesses fail to make a profit and go under the government becomes the default creditor therefore recovering the loan, or is this simply just QE? Sounds a bit like a student loan too.

    Sir John apologies for my 3rd post , I normally allow about 1 or 2 a week.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 18, 2020 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      Certainly cutting out the middle man rip off banks would be a good plan or at least making them more competitive. In fact the state charge high interest rates and large fines and penalties on any late payment of taxes well above market interest rates. This even where the company simply cannot pay for cashflow reasons.

  33. MeSET
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    I shall stop giving nice clues away about nice Shakespeare. I know SO much 🙂

  34. Mike Wilson
    Posted February 18, 2020 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    yes make more money available for lending. Get those house prices up. There are still a few young people that can afford to buy a home. That’s no good. They should rent off older buy to let landlords. How’s a landlord to grind out an honest crust if young people can afford to buy a house?

    And as for cars, bring in a compulsory scrapage scheme for any car that’s more than 3 years old and make buying a new car on credit compulsory. If you want a car you should do the socially responsible thing and borrow the money.

    • Fred H
      Posted February 19, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      ridiculous. What about cash rich, income low?
      I have to assume you are sarcastic not stupid.

  35. Fred H
    Posted February 19, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Sir John could you create a new site for Edward and Bill?

  • 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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