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Public finances

BRITAIN-POLITICS-LABOUR

Rachel Reeves’s ‘staggering’ and ‘astonishing’ future of welfare speech

7 August 2014 11:26

Rachel Reeves, the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, gave a speech earlier this week on the future of the welfare system. The choice that she presented was one between ‘…failing… Continue reading

157 Comments
Image: Getty

George Osborne’s grey-haired gamble

21 July 2014 9:15

George Osborne has been in retail mode this morning, selling his pension reforms and explaining how pensioners can unlock their life’s savings. The Chancellor has said that the Treasury will… Continue reading

14 Comments
Image: Getty

At last, it’s Tax Freedom Day… but just wait until you find out when Cost of Government Day is

28 May 2014 11:47

Today is Tax Freedom Day. That means that the average person in Britain has to work 148 days of the year solely to pay taxes. Only on Tax Freedom Day… Continue reading

6 Comments
Royal Sussex County Hospital, UK

An NHS tax is just another name for a tax rise

17 May 2014 10:51

Finding a way to raise taxes that is popular is, for some on the centre-left, the Holy Grail. As the well connected Andrew Grice reports in The Independent today, a… Continue reading

88 Comments
Image: Getty

George Osborne and Ed Balls play it like it’s 2010

16 March 2014 10:06

George Osborne and Ed Balls have gone head-to-head in the media – the former in The Sun on Sunday and the latter in The Sunday Mirror. The two also appeared… Continue reading

13 Comments
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne Visit Lloyds TSB Bank

Today’s borrowing figures are bad for the Tories, but they’re not good for Labour either

21 February 2014 17:59

Today’s borrowing figures are, on the surface, not good for the Tories. The surplus on the public finances in January 2014 was lower than for the same month in 2013,… Continue reading

92 Comments
The Osborne Austerity

Osborne increases debt more than Labour did over 13 years

21 November 2013 13:27

The national debt figures are out – £1.2 trillion and rising – and although I hate to say it, the Labour Party has a valid point to make. If you… Continue reading

155 Comments
Pressure Increases For A Scottish Independence Referendum

An Age of Tartan Austerity looms after Scottish Independence. There are worse fates than that.

18 November 2013 15:53

The first thing to be said about the Institute for Fiscal Studies’ latest assessment of an independent Scotland’s long-term fiscal well-being is that the IFS’s assessments of the UK’s long-term… Continue reading

343 Comments
NHS Direct has withdrawn from the non-emergency helpline. The episode reveals something of the difficulties of private companies investing in the health service.

The NHS must improve its approach to costing if the market is to work

29 July 2013 18:00

News that one of the health service’s largest operators of the non-emergency 111 helpline is to pull out of the market will have raised very few eyebrows in the health… Continue reading

27 Comments
Image: Getty

Immigration allows Britain to fake progress, not make progress

20 July 2013 10:46

Is Britain addicted to immigration? I argued so in my Telegraph column yesterday and Radio 4’s Today programme held a discussion about it this morning and asked me on (22… Continue reading

197 Comments

Denial is a River in Scotland

27 June 2013 13:25

Aye, the old ones are the best. You might think that George Osborne’s decision to  leave the Scottish block grant more-or-less untouched in yesterday’s spending review would be a cause… Continue reading

30 Comments
George Osborne Delivers His Autumn Statement On The Economy

Spending review: All departments settle

23 June 2013 22:01

All departments have now reached agreement with the Treasury in the spending review. Vince Cable’s Business Department, which was not expected to settle until the last possible moment, settled earlier… Continue reading

11 Comments
Troops Prepare Ahead Of Operation Herrick 16 Deployment On Salisbury Plain

The Great Defence Procurement Rip-Off, Housing Edition

6 March 2013 12:12

There’s no business like government business. Reacting to Philip Hammond’s statement on future army basing yesterday, today’s newspapers have led on either the decision to strip the Desert Rats of… Continue reading

3 Comments
The Adam Smith Institute predicted that if Vince Cable got his way and capital gains tax rates were increased to match income tax rates, the Treasury would not make anything out of it. Picture: Getty

Vince Cable tells Philip Hammond, cut Trident not welfare

3 March 2013 12:16

On The Sunday Politics today, Vince Cable told Andrew Neil that he disliked ring fencing particular departments. But he accepted that the NHS and DFID budgets would remain protected for… Continue reading

25 Comments
Philip Hammond was made defence secretary because of his ability to balance the books. Picture: Getty.

The Tory branch of the National Union of Ministers says cut welfare, not our budgets

2 March 2013 13:31

Philip Hammond is a cautious and loyal politician. He is not a boat rocker. This is what makes his interviews in the Telegraph and The Sun today so noteworthy. He… Continue reading

44 Comments
Graphic: Carla Millar

Deficit latest: Still £5 billion higher than last year

21 February 2013 12:51

Today’s borrowing figures show that the government had a surplus of £11.4 billion in January. But before we get too excited, a bit of context is in order. There’s (almost)… Continue reading

47 Comments
The Osborne austerity has meant core spending cut by just 3pc over 3 years. Debt is soaring - and voters who wanted him to fix all this will be deeply unimpressed in 2015.

Austerity latest: spending up, deficit up.

22 January 2013 12:47

We can all overdo it a little at Christmas, but the government’s monthly overdraft statement — which came in this morning — is of a different order. In December, HM… Continue reading

62 Comments
The IFS says George Osborne must not use the QE transfer to claim he's meeting his debt target. Graphic: Carla Millar

IFS warns Osborne: don’t cook the books, like Brown

26 November 2012 12:19

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has today published its attempt to predict what the OBR forecasts will show when they’re released as George Osborne sits down after delivering his Autumn… Continue reading

26 Comments
Osborne might avoid missing his debt target at the Autumn Statement, but not because the economic outlook is brighter. Picture: Getty Images

George Osborne might meet his debt target after all

23 November 2012 18:08

When George Osborne gives his Autumn Statement on 5 December, the OBR will publish its new forecasts for growth, deficit and debt. For the last few weeks, the consensus has… Continue reading

26 Comments
The Osborne austerity has meant core spending cut by just 3pc over 3 years. Debt is soaring - and voters who wanted him to fix all this will be deeply unimpressed in 2015.

Labour underestimated Osborne’s deficit

22 November 2012 14:58

As Fraser reported at the time, Labour put up a deficit clock on its website last month, claiming that the government was borrowing £277 million more during Tory conference than… Continue reading

40 Comments
Ed Miliband at the Labour Party conference. Picture: Getty Images

Labour to launch a deficit clock for Tory conference

5 October 2012 14:09

Things have come to a pretty pass when the Labour Party is launching a campaign with a deficit clock to expose George Osborne’s shortcomings. But they are about to do… Continue reading

108 Comments
Reports suggest Osborne will ditch his debt target in December. Graphic: Carla Millar

Why George Osborne will miss his debt target

12 September 2012 17:27

Much is being made today of reports that George Osborne will drop his fiscal target in his autumn statement on 5 December. Isabel reported earlier that, faced with breaking his… Continue reading

32 Comments
Prime Minister David Cameron And Chancellor George Osborne Ahead Of A Critical Week At The Leveson Inquiry

Osborne borrows his way out of a debt crisis

26 June 2012 12:45

This morning’s borrowing figures from the Office for National Statistics are a blow for George Osborne, showing public sector borrowing up £2.7bn on the same time last year. The stats… Continue reading

56 Comments
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The coalition rows back on the Budget’s VAT changes

28 May 2012 21:20

No government likes to u-turn, and particularly not on a Budget measure. So, tonight’s changes to the VAT regime proposed by the Budget for Cornish pasties and static caravans are… Continue reading

42 Comments
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All eyes on Hollande

19 May 2012 17:11

Have you noticed the weird hold that François Hollande has over our politics? If you haven’t, then let me tell you: his name has been almost inescapable in Westminster over… Continue reading

36 Comments