Amidst the Blizzard of Statistics …

Amidst the blustery winter conditions, the Office of Budgetary Responsibility (OBR) issued a blizzard of economic statistics yesterday, as part of its autumn economic forecasts. The OBR is a new independent institution set up by the government to bring greater impartiality to the publication of economic statistics. So what did the OBR say? Well, the […]

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Lean and Green

On 14 May, the new Prime Minister pledged to cut CO2 emissions from government departments by 10% in 12 months. He also explained how: ‘Government department headquarters will … publish online in real time their energy use so that the public can hold ministers and civil servants to account for their carbon footprint’. The software […]

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EU Budget Debate

Yesterday, Parliament debated the EU budget, set to rise by 2.9% with Britain paying £7.7billion this year. I abstained on the vote – i.e. refused to vote in favour of the budget – for two reasons. First, the government had itself voted against the rise with 6 other countries in August (but was outvoted under […]

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Don’t Forget the other Chelsea

Elmbridge may be famous for hosting Chelsea FC’s training ground, but there is another international team by the same name nearby – Chelsea Technologies in West Molesey. Hired to help clear up the oil slick from the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico, Chelsea Technologies’ sensory technology is being pioneered for a range […]

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Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

City AM’s Editor, Allister Heath, leads today with the headline ‘Never Trust UK economic statistics.’ In his article, he laments the lack of reliable data with which to gauge whether – and how fast – the economy is recovering. But, he has also touched on a wider political challenge. Despite the arrival of ‘Red Ed’, […]

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Keeping an eye on the Swedes

Sweden is one of those countries it pays to keep an eye on. Run (until relatively recently) by social democrats, with high levels of taxation, a competitive economy and high social mobility, it appeared to defy gravity – and the debate between economic liberals (like myself) and socialists or social democrats. In short, it was […]

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How Resilient is Elmbridge?

Last week, the BBC published a report based on research by Experian (a credit checking business) which stated that Elmbridge (and Surrey) are amongst the areas of Britain most ‘resilient’ to economic shocks. Good news, and little surprise at one level. We live in an affluent area with thriving local business and relatively low unemployment. […]

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We Owe How Much?

Today, The Independent ran an interesting article on the true scale of the debt inherited from the last government. It points out that, if you include all public sector liabilities, total debt is £3.8 trillion – around four times higher than the official measure. For policy wonks and bean counters, the article is based on […]

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The Selfishness of Socialism

Last week, the opposition seized on selective Treasury figures suggesting the government’s emergency budget would lead to 1.3 million job losses – ignoring the 2.5 million expected to be created. It is a sign of the shrill, partisan and selective politics we can expect in the months ahead. What surprises me most is the sheer […]

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