Shop prices down again, disposable income up

Yesterday the BRC published its latest shop prices index. Over the last year prices are down by 1%. This is a smaller fall than recent figures, but shows there is still fierce competition on the High Street and on the internet, with the overall balance of prices under good control.

Asda also published its latest disposable income tracker. This showed disposable income up by 3.5% over the last year. All this has happened at a time when oil prices have risen sharply, with a big effect on domestic fuel and vehicle fuel. Fuels are up 17% over the last year, and are the main force behind the rises in the CPI and the RPI.

I was expecting further rises in inflation as the rise in world commodity prices flows through, and as we get further rises in electricity, services with a large wage component, and the usual local and national government increases in fees and charges. So far UK inflation has been running in parallel to German and US inflation, which have also risen rapidly from a very low base mainly owing to fuel prices.

Lots of forecasters are still refusing to look at the figures that are coming out. Many still say there will be a sharp rise in prices from lower sterling, which they wrongly think has mainly occurred after the referendum vote instead of before. This they think will then remove all real growth in incomes and weaken the economy.  They are overdoing the gloom.

The property valuers have some explaining to do. They have been warning of immediate post referendum declines in City offices. Yesterday British Land announced it has sold the Cheesegrater, a large modern well let City office block, for £1.15bn, which is 25% above the September 2016 valuation! The yield is only 3.4% on the good rents signed up.  Will we have some apologies over all that red ink they spilled last summer?


  1. Newmania
    March 2, 2017

    The fall in sterling tracked the likelihood of Brexit and was caused by Brexit . The line you have concocted is not a lie but ” It will do until a lie comes along “. As an importing country, a fall in the international estimate of our prospects is inflationary. Simple.
    The consumer demand surge we have experienced as a consequences of cancelling the promised 2% rise in interest rates and allowing government borrowing to grow will be paid for after article 50
    The performance of an economy within the EU subjected to a political misuse of economic levers will raise expectations unrealistically and increase the anger when the truth is known.
    All bad . Bad idea . Stupid people .

    Reply Completely wrong. There is no such correlation.

    1. Lifelogic
      March 2, 2017

      Well the bank of England lowering interest rates and T May’s I am interventionist, big state, dim socialist who believes in the climate alarmist religion, workers on company boards, gender pay drivel (and daft tax wasting projects like HS2 and Hinkley C) did not help the pound nor confidence very much.

      She still has time to come (or be brought) to reality though by the sane wing of the party.

      Let us hope Hammond finally grows up and gets real in his budget next week.

    2. hefner
      March 2, 2017

      Either you are of really bad faith or you do not know how to calculate a correlation. Please take the monthly (or better weekly) value of sterling over, say, the last ten years, and time series of various other predictors. Take now the Brexit vote as a step function happening on 23 June 2016. Run your Excel program on all these configurations, compare the correlation in terms of correlation coefficient and percentage of the variance explained, publish the results, and comment thereafter.
      I will be waiting breathlessly.
      It is so easy to answer “Completely wrong” based on one’s bias.

      1. Newmania
        March 2, 2017

        Hefner – Your logic is compelling. Similarly the correlation between jumping off a cliff and hitting the ground at speed is largely myth. Factors such as wind speed height and ( in your case)_ pointy-ness of head are routinely ignored and explain to me ( if you can! ) why there is a period after having jumped and before having hit when the outlook is pleasing if breezy ? Hu hu
        Probably just another coincidence

        1. Anonymous
          March 3, 2017

          That was an amusing comment, Newmania – as many of yours are, I give you that. (Sorry for laughing out loud, Hefner. I just couldn’t help it.)

        2. libertarian
          March 3, 2017


          Brain signal travels about 20 milliseconds (ms = a thousands of one second) from a receptor to the brain. If the nerve wiring is used to pre-process data, like this occurs in the eye’s retina for example, the time goes up to 50 to 100 ms. Hardwired reflexes or trained responses like fast table tennis returns can be unconsciously dealt with in 200 to 300 ms. Taking into account how slow nerves transmit and how much calculation is involved to complete high level functions like conscious thought, a delay of 500 ms is an unexpectedly short and entirely necessary holdup.

          Nevertheless, it is long enough to be of some comfort to anyone jumping from a cliff of at least 60 meters height. Falling down a height of sixty meters onto the deserted asphalt below gives one’s body a velocity of about 34 meters per second after 3.5 seconds [one hits the ground with v = (2 *60 m * 9.8 m/s2)1/2].

          Air resistance can be neglected, because it is proportional to the square of the velocity, and the terminal velocity of a falling human body is faster than 54 m/s even with fully outstretched limbs (considering air resistance, the result is 31 m/s after 3.6 s instead).

          Falls from a mere ten meters onto unyielding ground have already often deadly consequences, but 34 m/s, that are 76.2 mph or 122.4 km/h, are enough to immediately switch off and destroy one’s brain regardless of the body’s orientation at impact.

          Assume a cautiously conservative estimate employing a neural delay of only dt = 200 ms. Approaching the ground to about six meters above of it, then having a velocity of 32 m/s, one falls more than six meters (32 m/s * 0.2 s) during the time dt between the eyes receiving the light and the occurrence of the neural correlates of consciousness of the seen situation.

          Resultantly, the conscious perception is that of a fast approaching ground, but this movie stops playing when the ground is still more than six meters away! One does never even come close to experiencing the impact, let alone having any pain because of it.

          If you dont believe me , give a try !

    3. Denis Cooper
      March 2, 2017

      “The fall in sterling tracked the likelihood of Brexit and was caused by Brexit”

      Wrong again, see the three charts on page 23 here:

      The pound peaked against the dollar in the summer of 2014 but continued to rise against the euro for another year or so, and the sterling trade weighted index peaked about a year later in 2015; in other words these downwards trend started long before the EU referendum, in fact long before it was even certain that there would be an EU referendum.

      1. hefner
        March 2, 2017

        Indeed there was a drop from Dec’15 to mid’16 and another one in the second half of the year 2016., just after a tiny peak when the currency market thought Remain would gain the majority.
        It is certainly good for tourism to the UK, stay-cations and undubitablely the exports.

        1. Denis Cooper
          March 3, 2017

          The sterling trade weighted index peaked in early August 2015:

          August 5th, to be precise, when it touched 94.6475; in the run-up to the referendum it was around 87, and now it is around 77.

    4. Newmania
      March 2, 2017

      Coincidence then …

    5. Anonymous
      March 2, 2017

      In the euro we’d have had no control over interest rates. Continued EU membership would have meant membership of the single currency sooner than later.

      In mentioning the *cancellation* of interest rate rises you’re bringing attention to the benefit of being spared ever closer union.

    6. Richard1
      March 2, 2017

      I was interested in one comment made by Sir John Major in his recent speech: he said a move to a radical enterprise economy is incompatible with a welfare state (at least one like ours), and that there is no public support for such a move. Both these statements are probably true. but Brexit should move the Country in a more free market / small govt direction as people realise the inexorable logic of the need to be globally competitive. It will no longer be good enough to say we have among the lowest taxes or lightest regulation in the EU – that won’t be the relevant comparison once the comfort blanket of EU membership is removed!

      Surely therefore the long term prospects for the U.K. Will be determined by whether this and future governments pursue good economic policies which promote an enterprise economy and keep the UK competitive. If we look around the EU it is the infantilised electorates of the Eurozone with their increasingly powerless Parliaments which elect the kind of left-populist governments which lead to high unemployment, low growth, high tax, intervention etc. (Greece, portugal, Italy etc).

      1. Lifelogic
        March 3, 2017

        A radical enterprise economy is not at all incompatible with a welfare state. But not one with welfare for anyone who just opts for life on welfare.

        A smaller state with far less regulation would give a far higher GDP cake to tax and 25% of that is more than enough for a sensible size of government and good welfare/health/education for the vulnerable where needed.

        Public support would certainly come when they saw how well this can work.
        Libdim John (ERM) Major was totally wrong again as was everything else in his speech.

    7. Andrew Gardner
      March 2, 2017

      Here is a link to a currency chart Sterling vs Euro for the past two years:-

      John Redwood is correct.

      1. Enoch
        March 2, 2017

        Don’t confuse this debate with facts man

    8. acorn
      March 2, 2017

      There is some correlation; but, you can only blame a quarter of it on the referendum.

      Remember back in 2008, when foreigners were selling the pound like crazy? See this chart.*&fd=1&fm=1&fy=1997&ld=31&lm=12&ly=2017&y=daily&q=volume&f=svg&a=lin&m=0&x=

      The current fall in the pound started back at Q4 2015. I haven’t worked out which political clown / neo-liberal think tank, said something, that caused it. It needs to be correlated with the Balance of Payments data.

      In the populist UK; the EU “four freedoms” of goods, capital, services, and people, the people movement bit is top of the xenophobes list, naturally. It would be really good if they paid the same attention to capital movements like the Chinese; Indians and other ASEAN countries do.

      Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) means foreigners are buying up our country. That is not all bad. When times are tough, it is difficult for foreign owners to cash in and take a car factory or a steel works back home. Not so with portfolio investment (equity shares etc). Foreigners can pile in at the start of trading and pile out again at teatime and take cash home.

  2. Mark B
    March 2, 2017

    Good morning.

    So is our kind host predicting an end to, boom and bust ?

    1. Lifelogic
      March 2, 2017

      There will certainly be a good period of growth if May & Hammond move to a sane smaller state, lower taxes, cheap energy & far less red tape agenda.

      1. hefner
        March 2, 2017

        And when are you, businessmen” going to start to work your socks off, instead of waiting for yet another sweet from the Government?

        1. libertarian
          March 3, 2017


          In my case as a businessman I’ve been working my socks of and paying huge amounts of tax for over 40 years. What is this sweet from the government about which you speak?

          1. hefner
            March 4, 2017

            You know, the “smaller state, lower taxes, cheap energy, far less red tape, no HS2, nor Hinkley C, … ” that our beloved Tibetan Buddhist prayer wheel keeps repeating day in day out.

        2. Lifelogic
          March 3, 2017

          When it is worth working then people will work.

  3. Iain Gill
    March 2, 2017

    Noticed how many people the supermarket’s think live in this country? And compared and contrasted with what the government thinks?

    Not that illegal immigration is out of control or anything.

  4. Ian Wragg
    March 2, 2017

    Most price rises are due to the government.
    Our council tax increases by 5% to a whopping £180 per month wiping out all pension increases.
    Together with a fuel bill of £100 per month there isn’t much disposable income.
    Our savings nestegg is being eroded at a frightening rate due to interest rate policy.
    Good that I can still work at 72.

    1. Tad Davison
      March 2, 2017

      You have my sympathy Ian, you shouldn’t have to work at 72 in order to enjoy a decent quality of life, but in the years to come, it could be the norm for everyone. And those fuel bills are higher than they might be, were we to have a half-decent energy policy.


    2. fedupsoutherner
      March 2, 2017

      Ian Wragg

      Yes, it makes me laugh when they highlight how many pensioners are still working. They seem to say they are all doing it for companionship and because they want to. Have they ever thought that some of them might HAVE to?? More and more people will have to work beyond their retirement age because of low pensions and a high cost of living.

  5. acorn
    March 2, 2017

    “Growth in family spending power continues to slow, whilst debt is on the rise Families had £205 of discretionary income in January, £7 more than the same time last year But Asda Income Tracker reveals Household debt has grown by nearly 10% a year over the last 5 years. The cost of living increased again in January 17, which contributed to the slowdown in disposable income growth Fuel prices were up nearly 17% year on year, as inflation increased to 1.8%.

    The latest Asda Income Tracker revealed that in January, families had £205 of disposable income available each week, up 3.5% from the same period last year. Whilst the data shows that family spending power remained up year on year, growth slowed again in January to £7 per week more than the same period in 2016. This is the slowest rate of growth reported since August 2014. ”

    PS. It’s about a society on its way down. And as it falls,it keeps telling itself: “So far so good… So far so good… So far so good.” It’s not how you fall that matters. It’s how you land.

  6. forthurst
    March 2, 2017

    In keeping with its culinary theme, the Cheesegrater is to be renamed the Chinese Takeaway.

  7. Ian Wragg
    March 2, 2017

    So now it’s official. The unelected HoL the most expensive home for has beens actually prefers to uphold the rights of foreigners rather than British citizens.
    A good recruitment ploy for UKIP. Mrs May should watch her back. Any sliding and she’s in trouble.

    1. hefner
      March 2, 2017

      Dream on, with FPTP and the high moral level of your top people?

    2. Denis Cooper
      March 2, 2017

      They’d already been told that May had tried to get a quick agreement on this and most of the EU governments were willing to do that but it had been vetoed by Merkel. The House should have expressed its indignation about this, but instead speaker after unpatriotic speaker tried to lay the blame on May rather than Merkel. Presumably the same thing will happen during the course of the negotiations, a majority of the Lords will be batting for the other side. Clearly the government will have to be very careful about who receives any confidential information.

    3. Leslie Singleton
      March 2, 2017

      Dear Ian–Lord Tebbit spot on as usual–And in any event I cannot begin to understand the “bargaining chip” comments. It is hardly bargaining to say that we are very willing to do something and will do so as soon as you do. Do the Lords then believe that the Government doesn’t think as I just said and that instead it plans to throw the issue in to the real negotiation to come? Are they mad? I mean of course not just the troublemakers in the Lords but also the EU geniuses inflexibly over-egging the trigger business in to where it does not belong.

      1. anon
        March 2, 2017

        Its just another diversion to slow or stop notification.
        Its not about anything else.

  8. Lifelogic
    March 2, 2017

    So why does May not abandon the unscientific renewable/alarmist agenda and all the damaging subsidies to cut energy prices. Also to set a sensible lower tax, smaller state, far less red tape agenda, pro fracking agenda, anti vanity projects agenda which would strengthen the pound and cut oil prices in sterling terms?

    So far Theresa (Milliband) May has indicated and actually done the complete opposite. Time for her and Hammond to grow up, recognise how the world works, cut taxes and get real.

    Gender pay reporting, workers on company boards, quarterly reporting to HMRC, absurdly high taxes, HS2, Hinckley, the “renewable” grants, biofuels, endless red tape ….. are all hugely damaging to the real economy. They kill the goose that lays the golden eggs and generate yet more parasitic jobs. They destroy and export real jobs and kill productivity. Is this what she and Hammond want?

    1. fedupsoutherner
      March 2, 2017

      Hear, hear Lifelogic.

  9. Denis Cooper
    March 2, 2017

    Well, just you wait until Article 50 is triggered …

    Or, maybe, until we actually leave the EU …

    OK, so before the referendum the forecast was for an immediate collapse into recession if we voted to leave, and that hasn’t happened, but that was just a slight timing error …

    These people will NEVER give up talking down their country.

    1. Tad Davison
      March 2, 2017

      Too right Denis!

      Recently, I accepted a request sent out by the Bruges Group to those on their mailing list, to contact and lobby members of the House of Lords using the Bruges Groups’ own standard e-mail. The intention was to get their lordships either to keep the faith, or to change their minds and come to their senses.

      I wrote to maybe a hundred in all, in the hope some would get back to me, and I could really get the dialogue going thereafter with my own personally constructed e-mail and challenge any entrenched attitudes where there was a difference of opinion.

      Not everyone responded, and that was pretty much to be expected, but some were amenable to a frank discussion. I had a good exchange with Don Foster for instance, and whilst we don’t agree, it was an interesting exercise and I can at least respect him. But some of the arguments from the rest just beggar belief! I do not exaggerate, it is almost as if they would wish the country to commit suicide than to leave their cherished EU!

      They would pull Britain down and undermine it in any way they possibly could if they don’t get their way. Where the hell does that mind-set come from?

      I shall have further discussions later today!


  10. Mick
    March 2, 2017

    Off topic
    Lord Tebbit, another Cabinet minister under Thatcher, insisted peers should put the interests of Britons above those of ‘foreigners’.
    To boos from Labour and Lib Dem peers, he said: ‘It seems to me that the first duty of this Parliament of the United Kingdom is to care for the interests of the citizens of this kingdom.
    ‘If we are to be concerned about anybody’s rights after Brexit, to live anywhere on this continent of Europe, it should be our concern for the rights of British people to live freely and peacefully in those other parts.
    ‘Somehow or other today we seem to be thinking of nothing but the rights of foreigners.’
    Dismissing criticism of his comments, he said: ‘People of nationalities of other countries within the Union are foreigners.’
    He added: ‘Why is everybody here today so excited about an amendment that looks after the foreigners and not the British?’
    How true he speaks, after watching the debate I’m even more convinced that the House of Lords should be shut down and replaced with a elected house, then along with the House of Commons we can have in power people who have the British people interests first

    1. John C.
      March 2, 2017

      Virtue-signalling has reached epidemic proportions; even to use the word “foreigner” sends shivers down the spine of the modern liberal.
      The same soft sentimentality also pervades the notion that all 3 million or so EU immigrants are worthy hard-working souls. Is the suggestion that none of them are living on benefits or are beggars or black marketeers? Are we really expected to commit to the notion that all must remain, whatever they do, simply because they’re here? It’s sentiment defeating rationality.

  11. a-tracy
    March 2, 2017

    The National Living Wage (over 25’s) and NMW pushed up the lowest wages by 6% and will go up 6% again this April, this is impacting on differentials so how people are claiming real time wages aren’t rising I don’t know unless hours are being cut, something politicians of all colours have been asking for – more work-life balance.

    I don’t know what is going on in my local area with regard to Supermarkets, our primary town has gone from one major low-end supermarket and one high-end supermarket and a couple of small stores to now having, two major high-end supermarkets an expansion at the bottom to create four low-end large supermarkets plus other minor players without an equivalent population increase. Traffic there is appalling and I don’t go for that reason and the most convenient parking has been made short-term so you can’t park up and browse the town so that will kill off the rest of the independents. How much extra food waste is going to be created from this poor planning if the goods don’t get purchased because of oversupply.

    Then the second town that is developing large amounts of lower-cost family homes, giving us thousands of more residents has two low-end supermarkets to choose from! There was a new store planned but instead, the planners gave the land for more houses, causing more congestion on the local roads because the shopping infrastructure isn’t local. For the first time in 25 years I’ve seen big advertising boards for shops in the local shopping centre because it’s emptying as its rotting away and footfall is dropping whilst the shop rents and rates are still very high.

  12. alan jutson
    March 2, 2017

    Looks like the big increases are all about providing power, something you do not have much chance to do anything about.
    Yes you can shop around, but if you are on the cheapest tariff already you simply have to pay up.

    I await to see how many taxes will rise in next weeks Budget.

    1. Not that cold
      March 2, 2017

      I turn it off.
      No DDs apart from fuel and c.Tax.
      The latter’s the one you can’t get round.

  13. Denis Cooper
    March 2, 2017

    Off-topic, I only dipped into yesterday’s Lords debate, but I happened to hear a splendid contribution from the Conservative peer Lord Blencathra, at Column 848:

    “When I was supporting Vote Leave, I, like many others, took the view that we should make a grand unilateral gesture to state that we would grant residence rights and other rights to all EU citizens living in the UK. I thought that for two reasons: first, because it was a nice, decent thing to do, but also because I reckoned that we would get an immediate response from our EU partners, who would reciprocate and confirm that all Brits living in the EU would get similar rights. I thought that we could get this simple issue off the table before the tough and contentious talking began. I was utterly wrong—not for the first time, of course.

    The best outcome to get security and certainty for both EU and British citizens would have been a reciprocal agreement immediately after the referendum. That is exactly what my right honourable friend the Prime Minister tried to do – and I was surprised and indeed shocked that the EU rejected her approaches and has apparently refused to talk about reciprocal residency rights until we have triggered Article 50.”

    And who was behind this?

    “… the Prime Minister raised this with some EU leaders. However, I understand that, although 20 states were happy to agree reciprocal arrangements immediately, Angela Merkel and Donald Tusk refused to do so until we had triggered Article 50. So this venerable institution, the EU, lauded by many in this House as a bastion of decency, and Angela Merkel, are the ones who have given us harsh treatment and been intransigent; they are the ones who are not on the moral high ground.”

    Our government needs to intensify its worldwide propaganda efforts to counter those of the EU, and Germany in particular. Of course these foreign powers are being actively assisted by our own Fifth Column, who will always blame May and never blame Merkel.

    1. Yossarion
      March 2, 2017

      The Treaty of Rome gave free movement for Workers not Shirkers, coming to this Country and taking a bit of scrap to get a receipt to prove you are self employed should not be enough to receive any kind of Benefit now or in the future.

      1. Tad Davison
        March 2, 2017

        Exactly, and I wonder who first allowed that to happen, and who continued the practise?


    2. a-tracy
      March 2, 2017

      Whatever the politicians say if the EU start to mess around with UK citizens living in Europe without a fully reciprocal deal, then I worry about EU citizens living and getting top up benefits here as all deals will be off with the British public and no amount of Lords grandstanding will stop the trouble they brew up.

    3. oldtimer
      March 2, 2017

      The government should not allow this HoL amendment to stand. If it did it would simply put in play the fate of UK citizens living in the other 27 countries. Those ill disposed towards the UK could easily use them to blackmail the UK government into paying large sums to retain their entitlement to continue living there after Brexit. It would only take one country, or the Commission or the EU Parliament, to stall proceedings on this issue – either at the start or at the end of the negotiations. My suspicious mind believes this is the real reason behind the amendment. It is yet another attempt to put a spanner in the works.

    4. ian wragg
      March 2, 2017

      It’s time the death penalty was restored for treason. These has beens pontificating at vast taxpayer expense should be abolished immediately and replaced by an elected chamber maximum 100.

    5. Tad Davison
      March 2, 2017

      Absolutely, as my most recent experiences have demonstrated!


    6. stred
      March 3, 2017

      I listened to JRand a female labour MP, who voted against the referendum result against her whip, discussing Brexit on LBC tonight. She bemoaned the worries of her London constituents who were worried that they would be made to leave and return. JR made it clear again that this would not happen and that medical staff, such as her examples, would always be needed and welcome. Then my bird came home and told me that one of her closest colleagues of 12 years had called to tell her that he and his wife and children would be leaving soon and putting their house on the market. We are talking about top medical professionals from who are from EU countries. They had been advised by immigration rights lawyers that the wording of the bill just voted by MPs meant that because his wife had stopped working for 5 years to have their children,she had not paid NI and would be unable to qualify to stay here.

      I explained that this was ridiculous as Leave and UKIP had campaigned for the right of all EU citizens here, except criminals, to remain and that during her time as Home Secretary the PM only managed to deport a few foreign criminals. Also that she had been badly advised to start talking about bargaining by arch-remainer civil servants who had not apparently read the manifesto.

      This is the second time I have been told that immigration lawyers have been advising EUpeople that they need to pay to have the right paperwork, in order to avoid being kicked out. In the first case my friend decided to leave and, as she did not have £1000 and was insulted. It appears that there may be lawyers in the civil service putting unwarranted clauses in legislation, which go contrary to the referendum debate- or unscrupulous and no doubt remainer lawyers dedicated to dirtying-up Brexit and making money at the same time. And, of course, politicians such as the one one LBC who are spreading as much panic as possible in order to make the ignorant Leave voters think again and be ashamed of the cruel result.

      It is high time that Mrs May got a grip and made it absolutely clear that the Leave and UKIP policies were voted on and will be upheld. Professional people who have worked here and have English children will not be asked to leave, and neither will any other EU citizen who arrived before controls are introduced. And even then people with the skills we need will be able to work and live here, just as in most other countries outside the EU. Perhaps the people we should be watching are the lawyers who are spreading fear and making dishonest money.

      1. stred
        March 3, 2017

        I should add that in the very unlikely event that the EU did start to deport or take qualifications away from British citizens in the EU, then they would not only lose the income from retired self -financing Brits but many of us would boycott their tourism industries and products. It will not happen.

  14. fedupsoutherner
    March 2, 2017

    Will we have some apologies over all that red ink they spilled last summer?

    Hell will freeze over first!

  15. The PrangWizard
    March 2, 2017

    Sold to the Chinese. Mr Redwood will be delighted, more inward investment but then I wonder how much of the £1.5bn will find it’s way here anyway?

    The result is of course that the income from it will leave the England he claims to speak for but doesn’t, being a UK MP.

    Whose nation is it Mr Redwood when most of our businesses and large swathes of our land and property is owned by foreigners? What does national sovereignty mean? Foreign interests have a massive economic hold over us at present backed often by foreign governments, which gets worse every year.

    Leaving the EU is all well and good but leaving won’t change that aspect. It would be good to think that then we could look forward to a campaign to protect and expand and grow new UK owned brands internationally. That is, a reversal of present policy.

    I’m am looking forward to the day when he will explain why most of our competitor nations of the world look to invest overseas to increase their income, and frequently here, and why with his views do we do exactly the opposite. Why is he so keen to sell everything we’ve got which means of course a long term drain on our wealth?

    Reply Silly misplaced attack. I am the one arguing that we take the balance of payments seriously and cut the deficit on it so we do not have to sell so many assets abroad! Lets start by cancelling all those payments to the EU which are a part of the problem.

    1. Yossarion
      March 2, 2017

      Why does England still have to be broken into EUSSR Regions by the PM John?, I do not recall having a referendum to allow this to happen

      1. Iain Gill
        March 2, 2017

        There was a referendum for regional government in the North East of England, the people voted firmly against. Shame the politicians didn’t listen.

    2. Original Richard
      March 2, 2017

      “Lets start by cancelling all those payments to the EU which are a part of the problem”

      And trading with the EU on WTO terms instead of the current free trade (single market) terms which since we have a whopping trade deficit with the EU of £100bn/year shows that it is not working to our benefit.

    3. Lifelogic
      March 2, 2017

      To reply – lets also start cutting the trade deficit by becoming far more competitive with cheap energy, far less government, far less red tape, sensible employment laws, far fewer parasitic unproductive jobs and the likes.

      Alas May clearly has the opposite ideas.

    4. The Prangwizard
      March 2, 2017

      We have been openly and willingly selling assets for decades and it has not made blindest difference except that now there is a very large annual drain of overseas remittances which itself rrquires more assets to be sold. We have had the for sale sign up for so long government and MPs think it is a beneficial way of life, and concentrated on that instead of building and protecting our own industries. Just about every decent start-up which looks like having a long term future is sold off. Why are we not stopping that? And does your answer suggest that every nation with a defecit sells their assets with same vigour and for so long as we do?

  16. hefner
    March 2, 2017

    Something to relativise today’s post, the FT item “How wages fell in the UK while the economy grew” based on the OECD’s 2007-2015 Annual real wages compound growth rate. As somebody almost said, “these are statistics, lies and damned lies”.

  17. Antisthenes
    March 2, 2017

    The good times will not be with us forever as we have not yet worked out how to have growth that does not become excessive so overheats then collapses. Always the collapse is blamed on an imperfect market which is really only scapegoating as the root cause is due to outside interference that compromises the markets normal operation. Government is the biggest villain as through it’s agencies, policies and practices it often introduces unnatural forces into markets with disastrous results. QE for example is providing excessive funding for some assets so overpricing them which when corrected either by design or accident the price will collapse.

    Governments are inherently always a destabilising force on markets. The more so as they grow in size and number. Because they have an insatiable appetite to manipulate and spend all in the name of good intentions. The inevitable result being that markets eventually are taken away from the consumer and producers and become absorbed and administered by government. The socialist command economy is born and as they are then now inefficient the only way government can retain it’s monopoly on them is to use force.

  18. Prigger
    March 2, 2017

    Post Brexit.
    I do not know if non-EU nations will piggy-back on UK companies and US companies with offshoots in the UK to gain access to a more protectionist US market under Trump. Whether certain EU nation states will try to piggy-back on us too as Trump is suspicious of the EU economics. Life is full of uncertainty. For the EU

  19. Bob
    March 2, 2017

    – Elected MPs = 9
    – Unelected Lords = 102

    1. Lifelogic
      March 3, 2017

      How may UKIP supporters in the Lords – single figures at best? Yet they were the biggest party in the last free (PR) vote for MEPs.

      When will Farage get his richely deserved Dukedom?

  20. E.S. Tablishment
    March 2, 2017

    Discount retailers are welcome to the consumer. Though established large-scale stores have ongoing pension and locally negotiated employment responsibilities.
    We are all now ever more aware that a retailer financing proper private pensions is desirable. Perhaps “competition” in food retailing is a short-term consumer benefit at the expense of solid massive High Street names

  21. Economic Guru
    March 2, 2017

    Precision has never been claimed by Crystal Ball soothsayers. Evolutionist gradualism appears to have stopped before anyone of technological advancement could fact-check. So, economic experts bathe in self-viewed heavenly bequeathed light of unique Prediction-ness.
    They have repeatedly not read their scripture properly…they always make horrible errors. They should go contemplate on a mountain top or in a cave. I may work for them.

  22. helen jones
    March 2, 2017

    shop prices are not down by any means ,,,food prices are going up,petrol is up ,council tax about to explode along with insurance but of vourse not included in CPI how conveinient
    as for incomes savings interest continues to plummet so if anyone thinks 2.5% on my lousy £70 pw state pension is going to touch the price hikes forget it
    pensioners reliant on savings income have seen their lives totally savaged by B of E and they are insulted all down the line by Mark Carney and Gertjan Vliehe who somehow works out that pensioners have benefited from low interest rates because their house value has increased
    Where can i take bricks out and spend them please and since only downsizing from a 1 bed flat is to a tent please tell me how i have benefited
    The income for savers has been decimated by financial repression and blatant robbery

  23. fedupsoutherner
    March 2, 2017

    I read that the EU wants 60% of British waters for fishing. Unless they get what they want they are saying they will stop the Uk selling fish to the EU. What can we stop buying from them? The list is endless and can work both ways. Thank goodness we are leaving this nasty club.

  24. ian
    March 2, 2017

    Well that’s telling you john, well done h.jones.

  25. hefner
    March 2, 2017

    A Big Read worth a look or three in today’s FT “The nuclear fallout from Brexit” with various questions related to Research, Materials, Power and Medicine. It is to be hoped that Mr Johnson, Fox, Davis, maybe helped by Lilley, Rees-Mogg, Ridley will be able to bring satisfactory answers to these questions. Maybe a comment from JR would be welcome.

  26. anon
    March 2, 2017

    We should be out of the EU tarriff walls, and start purchasing at world prices.

    All that QE which (funds spending) thats isn’t aimed at reducing imports will not help purchasing power of the pound.

    I also note offshore wind power is now probably below Hinkley costs and likely to fall further. That will reduce imports and give long term local work for our seaports in a world facing UK.

    1. Lifelogic
      March 3, 2017

      Indeed Hinkley C is totally absurd and offshore wind is just completely absurd!

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