Taking the biscuit

Take a biscuit, put a layer of marshmallow on top and cover the whole thing in chocolate – what do you call that? The answer: this is not just a biscuit, this is an M&S biscuit. At least that was what HM Treasury thought. To Marks & Spencer, however, these chocolaty creations were something very different. The retailer insisted that they were in fact teacakes. [...]

She’ll be right, mate.

What do you do with a government that has created two million new jobs? That has halved inflation? Under which real wages went up 20 per cent? Which cut the national tax burden? Under which exports doubled? Kick it out. So said the Australian electorate last weekend. [...]

Property perestroika

The British seem to be fixated with house prices and follow the development of the property market like the weather report or the latest football results. Prices have been going up and up in the past, and if annual house price inflation occasionally drops to a mere five or six per cent, commentators clamber ever more frantically to predict a slump. [...]

Kein Zurück ins Paradies

Vor 18 Jahren schien es gekommen, das Ende der Geschichte. Jedenfalls wollten das damals manche Intellektuelle ausgemacht haben, als sich der real existierende Sozialismus - abgewirtschaftet und moralisch diskreditiert - von der Weltbühne verabschiedete. Es war nicht nur die Mauer gefallen, sondern mit ihr auch der Vorhang für totalitäre Volksbeglückungsutopien. [...]

The Gracious Speech: Housing

Once again, the government has announced grand plans for faster planning and more affordable housing. But given its record, it is doubtful whether grand plans will finally become grand designs. [...]

Cities limited

British towns and cities in receipt of substantial urban policy funding designed to bring them up to the economic standard nationally are, in fact, declining when judged by a whole range of indices. That is the worrying conclusion of Cities Limited which calls into question the value of the plethora of urban regeneration schemes delivered by a myriad of different agencies. Spending on the 14 core urban regeneration schemes in the last decade totals £30bn of public money. [...]

Das britische Wirtschaftswunder – Schein oder Nichtschein?

Insgesamt sind die Briten heute nach 15 Jahren Wirtschaftswachstum so hoch verschuldet wie nie zuvor. Das werden sie spätestens dann schmerzlich merken, wenn sich der Wohnungsmarkt abkühlt. Denn dass auf den langen Immobilienboom eine Korrektur folgen wird, gilt als sicher. Dann wird sich auch zeigen, was der Aufschwung der vergangenen anderthalb Jahrzehnte wirklich wert war. [...]

Emperor Brown has no Clothes

There are questions about Gordon Brown’s alleged record of sound economic management if the economy is thrown into a state of panic just because house prices remain by-and-large stable for the first time in a decade. The emperor of prudence has finally lost his clothes. [...]

The End of the Party?

While the boom lasted, economists calling for a return to such policies have often been treated like party-poopers. Now the party is over, will politicians start listening to their advice again? [...]

More mirage than miracle

All this presents UK economic policy with a challenge: to improve our infrastructure while reducing tax and regulatory burdens. This would increase the UK’s still disappointing productivity. In the long run, this is the key to economic growth. An economy built on lower taxes, lighter regulation and better infrastructure will be more sustainable than one built partly on rising house prices and extra debt. [...]
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