Public finances

Image: Getty

Osborne’s welcome conversion to the advantages of a budget surplus

10 June 2015 15:01

There should always be celebration when a sinner repents, and so it’s great to see George Osborne’s belated conversion to the cause of budget surpluses. As the above graph shows,… Continue reading

Labour leader Ed Miliband takes part in a special BBC Question Time programme with the three main party leaders appearing separately, at Leeds Town Hall on April 30, 2015 in Leeds, England.

Ed Miliband’s refusal to admit that Labour overspent could cost him dear

30 April 2015 23:02

Tonight’s Question Time special with Cameron, Miliband and Clegg provided the best television of this campaign so far. A well-informed audience relentlessly pressed the three leaders on their weakest points.… Continue reading

The Prime Minister Joins The Irish Taoiseach At Stormont For Cross Party Talks

‘Boring is good’ Cameron tells Tory MPs

13 January 2015 20:17

David Cameron and George Osborne addressed Tory MPs this evening. The meeting was to update the Tory parliamentary party on the economy and its place in the party’s election strategy.… Continue reading


Why both the Tories and Labour now want a fight on the economy

14 December 2014 10:01

Tomorrow, in a sign of how keen the Tories are to keep the political debate focused on it, both David Cameron and George Osborne will give speeches on the economy.… Continue reading

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Jeremy Vine and the truth about government spending

10 December 2014 15:57

Those who complain about the BBC (myself included) usually only refer to a small part of a massive and divergent operation. Nicky Campbell on Radio 5 is just superb – not… Continue reading

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Cameron’s speech show us why he is still the Tories’ greatest single asset

1 October 2014 14:19

David Cameron has yet again delivered a belter of a party conference speech, peppered with announcements. His performance is a reminder of why, even now, he remains the Tory Party’s… Continue reading


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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