Tag Archives: jonathan portes

The Autumn Statement and the unreal economic debate in which everyone pretends the Coalition stuck to ‘Plan A’

It’s autumn statement day. George Osborne will stand at the despatch box of the House of Commons this afternoon and present his pre-budget report. The Guardian’s Martin Kettle sums up what it’s all about:

For the Conservatives, today is about redefining themselves – in the face of a run of seriously disappointing polls – as the party that feels the voters’ pain over energy prices, house price inflation, wind farms or payday loans – while still, boosted by yesterday’s strong economic surveys and the possible return of the UK’s AAA rating, managing a recovering economy more soundly than Labour. For

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 13 Comments

The Lib Dem conference economy debate: Nick Clegg raises the stakes. He’ll have only himself to blame if he loses

After a weekend of averted rows – nuclear power and ‘fracking’ supported, axeing of tuition fees dropped – today’s debate on the economy will see a return to Lib Dem conference tradition: a dust-up between the leadership and the activists.

A year ago, there was a poorly coordinated attempt by Lib Dem members within the Social Liberal Forum and Liberal Left groupings to get the party to change the Coalition direction on the economy, to bring in an explicit Plan B. It suffered a crushing defeat, with Vince Cable, Steve Webb and Tim Farron all speaking in favour of …

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 10 Comments

5 points on Clegg’s admission that Coalition was wrong to cut capital spending

Nick Clegg in DublinNick Clegg has sparked a flurry of excitement with his admission in an interview for The House magazine that the Coalition cut capital spending ‘too far, too fast’ to coin a phrase. Here’s what he said to Paul Waugh and Sam Macrory:

“If I’m going to be sort of self-critical, there was this reduction in capital spending when we came into the Coalition Government. I think we comforted ourselves at the time that it was actually no more than what Alistair Darling spelt out

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Your essential weekend reader — my personal pick of the week’s must-reads

It’s Saturday evening, so here are twelve thought-provoking articles to stimulate your thinking juices culled from all those I’ve linked to this last week. You can follow me on Delicious here.

What will make banks care about their customers? – Diana Coyle says don’t increase banking regulation, instead open up the oligopolistic banking industry to true competition: ‘more competitive banking systems are more stable – the banks tend to be smaller so the “too big to fail” problem is less acute, and smaller banks …

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Your essential weekend reader — 12 must-read articles you may have missed

It’s Saturday evening, so here are twelve thought-provoking articles to stimulate your thinking juices…

Britain and Europe: Making the break – The Economist‘s verdict on many Europhobes’ éjaculation nocturne: ‘The most likely outcome would be that Britain would find itself as a scratchy outsider with somewhat limited access to the single market, almost no influence and few friends. And one certainty: that having once departed, it would be all but impossible to get back in again.’

Boris shows that Eurosceptics are in a mess

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The politics of sluggish growth: good for the Tories, bad for Labour, and as for the Lib Dems we’ll see

Today saw the publication by the IMF of its latest growth forecasts. UK growth prospects are downgraded once again. Growth in 2012 is now forecast to be -0.4% (the most recent quarter’s strong showing is anomalous) and an anaemic 1.1% in 2013. As The Spectator’s Jonathan Jones observes, the only thing new here is that the IMF is falling ‘into line with the consensus’.

On the face of it this is bad news for the Coalition, further evidence that the economic strategy of deficit reduction driven forward by David Cameron and George Osborne, and endorsed by Nick …

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LibLink: Jonathan Portes on wealth taxes & ensuring the ‘rich’ pay their fair share

Jonathan Portes, director of NIESR and former senior Treasury official, is not a Lib Dem — he recently contributed to LibDemVoice to critique the Coalition’s economic policy — but he is addicted to robust evidence. And the recent spate of right-wing commentators rubbishing the Lib Dems’ call for increased wealth taxes to help tackle the current economic crisis has roused his ire:

The Liberal Democrats call for a “mansion tax” (that is, a higher rate of council tax for the most expensive properties), possibly supplemented by some form of wealth tax seems to have provoked a peculiarly illogical misuse of

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , , , and | 6 Comments

The Independent View: Low borrowing rates signal economic weakness, not strength

As the head of an independent economic research institute, it’s not my job to attend the Liberal Democrat conference (or indeed that of any other party). But, following up this FT article, I’d like to share some thoughts on this line from a motion you will be debating at conference:

Conference recognises that the difficult decisions taken by the Coalition Government have ensured the credibility of the UK government’s position in the financial markets allowing the UK to borrow at record low rates.

and on an amendment to the motion which you’ll also debate:

Conference also notes that it would be a mistake

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged and | 25 Comments

Mandatory work: if we believe in evidence-based policy it’s probably best to pay attention to the evidence

Four months ago, when the political row over ‘workfare’ was at its peak, I wrote here on LibDemVoice that liberals needed to progress the debate beyond ‘the simple and simplistic ‘left/right’ attitudes currently on display, and start grappling with how best we can empower the individual to make the best of their own lives — including, and especially, those who appear to have settled for a life on benefits, and reject all other offers of help.’

Avoiding dogma, embracing evidence

Key to this, I suggested, would be avoiding the dogmatic approaches of the Tories — who appear to believe that every …

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarPeter Watson 17th Apr - 6:41pm
    @Martin "Reducing the number of MPs could only be acceptable in the context of a more representative voting system" Indeed. The party policy in the...
  • User AvatarAdrian Sanders 17th Apr - 6:16pm
    Interesting Shakesperian quote but would have been more powerful if he'd used the whole sentence - "The fault dear Brutus is not in the stars...
  • User AvatarDavid Allen 17th Apr - 6:15pm
    "Your solution,.(?).. is to create some kind of ‘academy’ to train young people to become the [new],…. “narrow class of professional politicians most of whose...
  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 17th Apr - 6:04pm
    @ John Dunn, Having looked at the website, it is not just about training SpAds.
  • User Avatardaft ha'p'orth 17th Apr - 6:02pm
    " it is the PEOPLE who are to blame " Or, more concisely, 'See what you've made us do? See what you've driven us to?'
  • User AvatarCharles Rothwell 17th Apr - 6:00pm
    I would not lump the BNP and UKIP together. For a start, the BNP has virtually imploded, Griffin has officially been declared bankrupt (in financial...