Category Archives: Economy

Tory ideas about money have been wrong since before 2010. Here’s the reason

Flag-waving fools: Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson have no idea how to run a country. They rely on patriotism to blind the gullible while they take your cash – and still put us into debt.

Some of us have been saying this for years but here’s a big-league economist to back us up.

Remember all the talk about Labour having “Maxed out the national credit card” that David Cameron and George Osborne used to win just enough seats to form a coalition with oily Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats in 2010?

It was nonsense. I said it at the time (and many times afterwards in articles on This Site. You can’t compare a national economy with household income and expenditure.

But it seems people are still being taken in by it because the Tories are still using it as the basis of their economic model.

That is the reason the UK has fallen deeper and deeper into debt during their 10 years in office. We can only go into debt, while they continue to follow this course.

Richard Murphy explains it very well in the video clip but I’ll paraphrase: while households become better-off by restricting spending, the nation loses out because businesses don’t benefit from that spending and cannot pass the money on through the system – therefore the nation becomes poorer.

So, by restricting spending with austerity policies, the Tory governments of the last 10 years have starved the UK of its economic lifeblood and plunged us into trillions of pounds worth of debt.

The only way to improve our economic situation is by spending into the economy with wise investments that help it to grow.

But Conservatives simply do not understand this basic (macro)economic fact. They never have.

See for yourself:

Some households fared well during the first Covid-19 lockdown. The lack of any way to spend their money meant they were able to pay off debts and bank spare cash.

But that won’t last. In some cases, families are already suffering because their income has fallen below their outgoings and the lockdowns are still going on.

In fact, the Tory plan is to ensure that they leach that money away from all of us as soon as possible.

There is nothing you can do about it in individual households because the household unit is too small to stave off economic intervention from a national government.

But if you group together with others, you might find a way.

Alternatively, you can just stick your head in the sand and wait for Rishi Sunak to empty your bank account and steal your house. It’s up to you.

You’ll probably see the sense in these words on March 2, when Sunak announces his spring budget.

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Record annual slump for UK economy in 2020 – but should Johnson be slammed for it?

Johnson’s blunders: he made promise after promise – and mistake after mistake. And the UK’s economy suffered.

Yes he should, although it may have seemed a tricky one to call.

The simple fact is that the UK’s economy was bound to suffer in the year of Covid-19.

Business – and school – closures were inevitable. Even though Johnson didn’t want to do it, eventually he had to.

And that’s part of the reason he should be blamed: he had to be dragged into every correct decision he made – and usually too late to prevent some harm from being done.

His lockdowns were only ever partial (so not really lockdowns at all), and he pulled out of them too early.

We recently learned that he ignored scientific advice to do so.

He diverted commercial contracts connected with tackling the virus away from experts in order to hand billions of pounds to friends of the Conservative Party who knew little or nothing about the work they were being asked to do.

Test and trace work, to quote a much-criticised example, suffered badly because he put an ex-jockey in charge, who didn’t realise that a virus can mutate – something that seven-year-old children read in school textbooks.

As a result of all this, the pandemic affected the UK far more than it might otherwise have, and the economic effect was worse, as we can see:

The UK economy shrank by a record 9.9% last year as coronavirus restrictions hit output, official figures show.

The contraction in 2020 “was more than twice as much as the previous largest annual fall on record”, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Muddying the issue is the fact that previous governments had dismantled the UK’s ability to cope with a pandemic infection over many years. But Boris Johnson was part of some of those governments, so he still can’t dodge some of the responsibility.

And, because it is a deadly infection, we don’t know how many people were likely to have been infected – or died – if Johnson had acted more responsibly… or indeed if he hadn’t bothered to do anything at all.

So we don’t know what would have happened in either a worst- or best-case scenario.

So we are left with the knowledge that the economy was going to suffer in 2020, no matter what.

But Johnson did not act fast enough to minimise the damage – and his choices were either wrong or, on the rare occasions they were right, delayed.

We don’t know how badly the economy would have been affected in different circumstances.

But it’s a fair bet that it would have fared better if Johnson’s choices had been wiser.

Source: UK economy suffered record annual slump in 2020 – BBC News

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Employers need to plan for the future. Why is the ‘party of business’ denying them this security?

Ditherer: Rishi Sunak doesn’t know how to safeguard businesses and the UK economy, or link its well-being with public health because the neoliberal dogma he learned does not accommodate phenomena like the Covid-19 pandemic.

Covid-19-related support packages for businesses are set to end soon, with no extension or replacement announced – signifying a £50 billion loss to the UK’s economy.

According to Tory plans the furlough scheme, rates holidays, tax deferrals, VAT cuts and other support packages will be closed at the end of the financial year.

But businesses are now expecting to be closed well into the spring and possibly beyond.

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak is not likely to announce his plans for the future of the economy until he makes his spring Budget statement on March 3 – too late for many firms, whose bosses will have to make decisions based on information currently available to them before that, if they are to be seen to be acting with responsibility to their shareholders, creditors and even employees.

Labour has demanded immediate action and, for once, Keir Starmer’s party is right.

Shadow business minister Lucy Powell also touched a raw nerve when she said Boris Johnson’s Tory government had failed to ensure that business support was integrated with public health measures.

As a result, the UK’s Covid-related recession had been the worst of any major economy.

And the longer Sunak dithers, the worst the situation will become.

Source: Businesses facing £50bn ‘bombshell’ as Covid support withdrawn, warns Labour | The Independent

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There is ALWAYS plenty of money. Don’t let the Tories lie to you again!

 

Money: there’s as much of it in the world as we want. Don’t let politicians lie to you that there isn’t, just to feed their own agendas.

One of the facts that has come out of the Covid-19 crisis is the fact that money is not scarce.

The Conservative government has been telling us for years that we needed to endure the austerity policies of Cameron, May and now Johnson because there wasn’t enough cash after the big banker-driven economic crisis of 2008-10, but we can see now that this is not true.

As soon as the pandemic hit, Johnson magicked up £300 billion from nowhere. The reason is simple:

Money is artificial. Governments can create it whenever they like.

Of course, Rishi Sunak is going to try to put the genie back in the bottle by saying we have to pay that money back in extra taxes and other clawback measures, but this isn’t true. We don’t have to. He’s just saying that to perpetuate the myth.

The economist Richard Murphy has been running a series of videos on YouTube discussing this subject – taking something that many people find dry and dull and turning it into bite-sized info-chunks that are easy to digest and take away with you, and he has tackled this issue here:

So there you are. Money is artificial; we can make as much of it as we like and use it to achieve what we like. The resource that is scarce is Planet Earth.

And we all need to re-order our thinking to accommodate that potentially deadly fact.

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Three reasons Keir Starmer is a Conservative, not Labour politician

Starmer is showing his true colours.

He has provided three examples of his personal political beliefs, within a single day, that show he is a Conservative and is therefore leading the Labour Party under false pretences.

Firstly, there is his decision to return Labour to the Conservative, neoliberal economic policies of the New Labour era, that lost the party two general elections in 2010 and 2015.

Secondly,

Yes, it’s true.

Finally, his social politics is positively fascist:

The only reason I can see now for people to vote for him or the party he is defiling with his presence is, they think the only choice is between him and the Conservatives. These are the people whose argument is, “What, you think the Tories are better?”

It seems we all have to take a broader perspective.

If Labour is now the same as the Tories, we’ll have to find someone else to support.

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Labour backs away from credible opposition by copying Tories on economics

Annaliese Dodds: do you really think you could trust this woman with the economy?

Keir Starmer’s Labour has announced that its new economic policy is to copy the Conservatives. Why not? Starmer’s copying the Tories in everything else!

Starmer, now well on his way to infamy as the worst leader in the more-than-100-year history of the Labour Party, may have turned the announcement over to his shadow chancellor, Anneliese Dodds, but it has his naive pawprints all over it.

Because it’s yet another example of an inexperienced politician, who doesn’t stand for anything apart from grabbing power for himself, blowing in the wind.

The Financial Times gave the game away.

Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds will signal on Wednesday that the Labour party is backing away from the hard-left economic policies of former leader Jeremy Corbyn

Sorry, what? “Hard-left” policies?

Corbyn was never hard-left and the author of the FT piece – Chris Giles, whose criticism of the Tories over the number of people dying due to Covid-19 has been exemplary – should know better. Perhaps he is being led by his ideological nose.

If Corbyn had been hard-left, he would have been demanding the nationalisation of everything and the end of individual property ownership. Hard-left policies require everything to be owned by the state and he never advocated that.

Corbyn’s policies were most similar to those of the Scandinavian countries – and anybody with an eye on international affairs will know that, economically, those nations are much more stable than the UK; their people far more prosperous. The UK would have been better-off under Corbyn’s economic policies.

But Starmer wants to turn his back on them because he is a Conservative at heart.

The trouble is, we already have a Conservative Party in the UK. Returning to the policies that lost Labour two elections (in 2010 and 2015 respectively) will not help a Labour leader who has failed to win a single victory against Boris Johnson’s inept and imbecilic Conservatives.

But that is exactly what Dodd’s is announcing.

In the annual Mais Lecture, she will cloak Labour’s strategy to become the UK’s next government in the latest thinking from international organisations such as the IMF, which recommends waiting until unemployment falls and the recovery is complete before thinking about the sustainability of public finances.

So, it’s back to austerity for Labour. That will be a long wait.

The best way to increase employment is to invest in it – not to leave everything to the market. That is hard-right neoliberalism and Labour should not have anything to do with it. Sadly, Labour members elected a Conservative as their party leader and he is imposing hard-right Conservative policies on them whether they want them or not.

The fact that he lied, lied, and lied again to get himself elected only partially excuses them (as it was clear that he was lying).

Strangely, in her speech, Dodds will distance herself from the economic programme Labour put forward in the run-up to the 2019 general election, that offered spending increases of £83 billion – a modest amount in comparison with the hundreds of billions splurged by Boris Johnson in the last year.

Instead, she will align Labour’s economic policy with that of the Tories, while referring to “responsible” policies no fewer than 23 times. There is nothing “responsible” about Conservative economic policy, or about aligning with them.

There’s an easy test for this. Conservative neoliberalism has been the dominant economic policy in the UK since 1979, when Margaret Thatcher was first elected into office.

At that time, a family of four could afford to pay the mortgage on their house together with all household bills including groceries and vehicle running costs, from the wages of just one parent – and still had enough left over for a holiday away from home during the summer.

Is that possible now?

No, it isn’t. Most of us are much worse-off after 41 years of this nonsense – apart from people in positions of extreme power, including MPs like Starmer and Dodds.

So perhaps there is an intention to help in this policy change. Starmer and Dodds are planning to help themselves.

Their predictable lapse into neoliberalism has been greeted with a chorus of derision from everybody who understands what it means:

Who would? The voting public certainly won’t.

Source: Labour signals end of Corbyn era in setting out economic vision | Financial Times

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Yes, but what does Covid-19 do to people who DON’T die?

Spotted on Facebook:

Some other stats were discussed based on the question “if we let the virus rip through the population on an assumed 1% mortality rate, how could this shut down the U.K.?”
Here was the answer:
There are two problems with this question.
1. It neglects the law of large numbers; and
2. It assumes that one of two things happen: you die or you’re 100% fine.
The UK has a population of 66,650,000. If one percent of the population dies, that’s
666,500 people dead.
Six hundred thousand people dead would monkey wrench the economy no matter what.
That more than doubles the number of annual deaths all at once.
The second bit is people keep talking about deaths. Deaths, deaths, deaths. Only one percent die! Just one percent! One is a small number! No big deal, right?
What about the people who survive?
For every one person who dies:
– 19 more require hospitalisation.
– 18 of those will have permanent heart damage for the rest of their lives.
– 10 will have permanent lung damage.
– 3 will have strokes.
– 2 will have neurological damage that leads to chronic weakness and loss of
coordination.
– 2 will have neurological damage that leads to loss of cognitive function.
So now all of a sudden, that “but it’s only 1% fatal!” becomes:
– 666,500 people dead.
– 12,471,600 hospitalized.
– 11,815,200 people with permanent heart damage.
– 6,564,000 people with permanent lung darnage.
– 1,969,200 people with strokes.
– 1,312,800 people with muscle weakness.
– 1,312,800 people with loss of cognitive function.
That’s the thing that the folks who keep going on about “only 1% dead, what’s the big deal?”
don’t get.
The choice is not “ruin the economy to save 1%”.If we reopen the economy, it will be
destroyed anyway. The UK economy cannot survive everyone getting COVID-19.
Here’s more information on ‘Long Covid’ from the British Medical Journal.

We’re not at one per cent deaths yet, but even the official figures (which are probably false) show 0.1 per cent deaths.

So we can assume current figures are one-tenth of those listed above.

That’s 1.25 million people hospitalised.

1.2 million with permanent heart damage.

656,000 with permanent lung damage.

200,000 with strokes.

131,000 with muscle weakness.

131,000 with loss of cognitive function.

Now.

How many of those are – or rather, were – contributing to the economy before catching the disease? How many will be able to continue doing so?

By failing to prepare properly; by selling off our PPE and failing to stock up on ventilators; by delaying positive action; by keeping the borders open (a contradiction of Tory policy, surely?); by using the emergency procurement procedure as a subsidy system for their spoilt friends; and by fooling around with the distribution of the new vaccines for the sake of a false public-relations coup, Boris Johnson and his Tories have crippled the UK’s population for years – possibly decades – to come.

And you know what’s going to happen?

It will be the people who can no longer work who will get the blame (and who won’t get any benefits).

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Sunak’s spending review shows some common sense. But has he put enough cash into it?

Rishi Sunak looking nervous: is he being honest with us? Does he even know?

There were no surprises in the announcements that formed Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s spending review – but it did mark a major change.

Sunak has abandoned the failed “starve the beast” economic model that was favoured by George Osborne and that caused such economic havoc between 2010 and 2015.

Instead of forcing austerity on the UK by cutting investment, thereby restricting the amount of money passing through the UK economy and shrinking it, creating a spiral of steadily decreasing funds, Sunak has reverted to a tried, tested and effective model.

He has elected to borrow money and use it to pump fresh blood into the economic veins of the country. The question is: can a Tory ever put enough cash into the system?

This Writer was on Twitter during the Chancellor’s speech, and provided my own commentary throughout. I reproduce it here, along with other comments I’ve picked up:

We should all remember that announcements mean nothing; Labour has announced that it will implement all the recommendations of an EHRC review of the way the party handles anti-Semitism complaints but it seems this is because it won’t make any difference to what the party does.

So we need to watch what the Tories do, and check not only the amounts of money they hand out – but who gets it.

The so-called “chumocracy” has had far too much of our money lately and This Writer, for one, fears that they haven’t finished slurping up the blood that keeps our economy alive, vampires that they are.

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Should anyone be surprised that Brexit will cost more than Covid – in the long term?

This Writer’s initial reaction to Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey’s claim that a no-deal Brexit will cost more than Covid was:

Is that because most of the cost of Covid was due to short-term profiteering by Tory crony companies?

The cost to the UK of this nonsense is short-term, though; when the pandemic is finally under control, the profiteers won’t have an opportunity to screw any more cash out of the Treasury.

But the loss of the free trade deals the UK enjoyed as a member of the European Union will have long-term effects that may last many years:

LSE modelling estimates a reduction in GDP worth 8% over a decade compared with remaining in the EU.

Asked about the research, Bailey said economic models suggested there would be long-term consequences, as it could take a long time for the UK to adjust to a new trading relationship. “It takes a much longer period of time for the real side of the economy to adjust to the change in openness and change in the profile of trade,” he said.

Bailey was talking about the effects of a “no-deal” Brexit but be warned that even a deal will place the UK at a disadvantage.

Source: No-deal Brexit to cost more than Covid, Bank of England governor says | Politics | The Guardian

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Labour challenges Johnson government to ‘Build it in Britain’ creating 400,000 new jobs

 

How pleasant to be able to report on something positive the Labour Party is doing.

The ‘green economic recovery’ was a Corbyn initiative, of course.

Ahead of this month’s Comprehensive Spending Review, Labour is calling for an economic recovery that will deliver high-skilled jobs in every part of the UK as part of the drive towards a clean economy. It is also calling for the low-carbon infrastructure of the future to be built in Britain.

Labour’s calls follow an extensive consultation with businesses, trade unions and other stakeholders around what a credible green recovery should look like, which received almost 2,000 responses. The consultation indicated that the Government must:

  • Recover Jobs
    By bringing forward planned capital investment and dedicating it to low-carbon sectors – at least £30billion in the next 18 months – as part of a rapid stimulus package to support up to an estimated 400,000 additional jobs.
  • Retrain Workers
    By putting in place an emergency training programme to equip people affected by the unemployment crisis with the skills they need for the future greener economy.
  • Rebuild business
    By creating a National Investment Bank similar to those operating in other countries, focused on green investment, and by ensuring that public investment always aids the drive to net-zero rather than hindering it.

The consultation report details a number of areas where progress has so far been limited in the UK, but where action now would support the creation of new jobs and tackle the climate and environmental crisis. They include:

  • Investing in upgrading ports and shipyards for offshore wind supply chains.
  • Expanding investment in Carbon Capture and Storage and hydrogen to help establish new opportunities for highly-skilled workers.
  • Accelerating planned investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure and ensuring the planning system better supports electric vehicle charging.
  • Bringing forward orders for electric buses to help struggling manufacturers fill their order books.
  • Introducing a National Nature Service, an employment programme to focus on nature conservation projects.
  • Expanding energy efficiency and retrofit programmes, including in social housing.
  • Ensuring that updated Sector Deals for sectors like automotive, steel and aerospace protect jobs and promote the shift to net zero.
  • Bringing forward flooding protection investment, prioritising areas of need across the North West, Yorkshire and the East Midlands.

These should be delivered within a wider strategy that also meets the UK’s overall infrastructure needs at the upcoming Spending Review.

Ed Miliband MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said:

“We face a jobs emergency and a climate emergency. It’s time for a bold and ambitious plan to deliver hundreds of thousands of jobs which can also tackle the climate crisis.

“This is the right thing to do for so many people who are facing unemployment, the right thing to do for our economy to get a lead in the industries of the future and the right thing to do to build a better quality of life for people in our country.

“As other countries lead the way with a green recovery, Britain is hesitating. It’s time to end the dither and inaction, and start delivering now.  It is what the British people deserve and what the crises we face demand.”

Anneliese Dodds MP, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, said:

“Labour is ambitious for Britain. We can harness the opportunities for green growth if the Government takes the right decisions now.

“In recent years, and particularly during this crisis, our country has fallen behind in the drive to a cleaner, greener economy.  We’ve seen far more rhetoric than action – and that has cost our country jobs.

“Future generations will judge us by the choices we make today to tackle the unemployment crisis and face up to the realities of the climate emergency.

“That’s why we need coordinated action to support 400,000 jobs of the future today, not tomorrow. Now’s the time to build it in Britain.”

Source: Labour challenges government to ‘Build it in Britain’ and support 400,000 new jobs with green economic recovery – The Labour Party

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