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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The Coalition’s First Budget

I have just walked out of the House of Commons, having listened to – and spoken in – the budget debate. This budget was never going to leave a smile on anyone’s face. But that is not how it should be judged. In the wake of the worst recession – and burdened with largest budget […]

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Welfare Reform

She laughed, assuming it was a joke. Then, reality dawned. A normal employer looking for someone ‘reliable and hard working’, Nicole Mamo was barred from advertising in the local job center in Norfolk last January. Staff said it would discriminate, against those who are unreliable. Nothing more neatly captures the something for nothing culture built […]

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Coalition Cup – Half Full?

As the policy wonks, commentators and public digest the coalition programme for government, there will be a lot of carping. I was not enthusiastic about a full 5 year coalition. But having joined it, we must make it deliver. The programme is not perfect. It reflects compromise. But let’s not lose sight of the positives, […]

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Election 2010: City AM Backs the Conservatives

This morning sees a fresh batch of endorsements for David Cameron and the Conservatives – from familiar sources, like the Daily Mail, and unexpected ones, like Simon Cowell. Perhaps the most interesting is City AM, which joins the growing consensus that only David Cameron can provide the economic leadership Britain sorely needs. The Editor dismisses […]

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Election 2010: Surrey Taxpayers – The ‘Great Ignored’

David Cameron launched the Conservative election campaign promising to fight for the ‘great ignored’ across Britain – hard-working, law-abiding families who do the right thing, but feel taken for granted by this government. I have been out across the constituency, at commuter stations, on the high street and discussing local issues with residents in town […]

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Election 2010: Local Impact of Labour’s Tax Hike

Yesterday, the British Chamber of Commerce’s latest economic survey of 5,500 businesses showed first quarter economic growth down at 0.2% (after 0.4% in the final quarter of 2009). The recovery has gone from limping to stumbling. That is why the debate on Labour’s National Insurance tax hike – on both employers and employees – is […]

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