Tag Archives: Interest

If this is why the Bank of England is making the UK recession worse, it stinks

The Bank of England: it is not your friend.

One of the strangenesses of running a political website as a commercial endeavour is that one is reliant on the articles to pull in advertising revenue, and this means more popular items take priority.

More meaningful items then take a back seat until such time as they can be funded by the other material – but fortunately, today, lots of people are enjoying the Suella De Vil song, so I have an opportunity to look at why the Bank of England is hiking interest rates and worsening the UK recession.

I’m taking the information from Professor Simon Wren-Lewis’s Mainly Macro article (link below), which suggests the most likely reason I’ve seen so far – and it isn’t to stop energy price inflation, nor is it to stop food price inflation.

No – it’s to stop wage inflation. The aim is to impoverish you by increasing the difference between what things cost and what you can afford.

Here’s Prof Wren-Lewis:

A UK recession will do almost nothing to bring energy and food prices down. Instead what has worried the Bank for some time is that the UK labour market appears pretty tight, with low unemployment and high vacancies, and that this tight labour market is leading to wage settlements that are inconsistent with the Bank’s inflation target.

You can see the reasoning behind this, just with the forthcoming strike by the Royal College of Nursing, that is calling for a 17 per cent pay increase. The Bank’s inflation target is just two per cent, and has been for many years.

The article continues:

Earnings growth is around 7.5% in the wholesale, retail, hotels and restaurants sector, about around 6% in finance and business services and the private sector as a whole.

Domestic firms are under no obligation to compensate their employees for high energy and food prices, over which they have little control and which are not raising their profits. As a result, if firms were free to choose and there was abundant availability of labour, they would offer pay increases no higher than the increases we saw during 2019.

Average private sector earnings running at around 6% are not a problem for the Bank because it is anti-labour, but because it believes wage growth at that level is inconsistent with its inflation target of 2%… Earnings growth will slow as the UK recession bites.

What this means in layperson’s terms is that, by increasing interest rates, the Bank intends to make it harder for many firms to survive in the hope that they will lay off staff, forcing more people back onto the labour market.

Then, firms would be able to offer whatever wages they wanted (above the minimum, of course) on a take-it-or-leave-it basis, and if you couldn’t make ends meet, then that would be your problem.

It is a premeditated, deliberate attempt to worsen poverty for millions upon millions of UK residents.

I wonder whether this is another unintended consequence of Brexit? When the UK was obligated to accept workers from the European Union, employers benefited from exactly the kind of loose labour market that allowed them to offer subsistence, or lower-than-subsistence, wages.

Now those workers have gone and employers are forced to take on native workers, the pendulum has swung the other way. It’s a thought, isn’t it?

Prof Wren-Lewis goes on to explain that developments in economic thinking mean that the tight labour market should not require an interest rate hike to “correct” it (his word).

nowadays macroeconomists believe it is possible to end a boom [in this case an over tight labour market] and bring inflation down without creating a downturn or recession, because once the boom is brought to an end a credible inflation target will ensure wage inflation and profit margins adapt to be consistent with that target.

The lags in the economic system mean a central bank should stop raising rates while inflation is still increasing. If a central bank believes it will lose credibility by doing this, and feels it has to continue raising rates until inflation starts falling, this will lead to substantial monetary policy overkill and an unnecessary recession.

If that is why central banks in the UK and the Euro area keep raising interest rates as the economy enters a recession, then the truth is central banks are throwing away a key advantage of a credible inflation target. Credibility is not something you constantly have to affirm by being seen to do something, but something you can use to produce better outcomes. Furthermore central banks are more likely to lose rather than gain credibility by causing an unnecessary recession.

Of course raising interest rates to 3% is not enough on its own to cause a prolonged recession. Probably more important is the cut to real incomes generated by higher energy and food prices, which is enough on its own to generate a recession. On top of that we have a restrictive fiscal policy involving tax increases and failing public services. Both together should be more than enough to correct a tight labour market. To have higher interest rates adding to these already large deflationary pressures seems at best very risky, and at worst extremely foolish.

This will affect you all.

Sadly, as I indicated at the top of the article, only a few of you are likely even to have read any of the information here – certainly not to the end. So very few of you are likely to make any preparations for it.

For the rest, the next few years are going to be very difficult indeed.

Source: mainly macro: Why is the Bank of England making the expected UK recession worse?

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Jeremy Hunt’s financial statement – and Martin Lewis’s reaction [VIDEO]


New Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has made a statement reversing almost all the economic measures announced by the previous Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng.

Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis reacts to his words:

What do you think? How will this affect you – or have you not considered this?

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Are you ready to lose your home to Tory economic stupidity?

The rise in interest rates means people with mortgages are having to pay more to keep their homes than at any time since the late 1980s.

Many of them won’t be able to sustain the payments at a time when the cost of living is rising across the board. That means people are going to lose their homes.

Here’s a video to explain it:

The issue was also discussed on the BBC’s Any Questions – with politicians predictably disagreeing wildly about the solution (I’ve had to split the audio file into three for upload purposes:

So we can have cheap, new housing – but it will be built on our valuable Green Belt land.

Or we can have cheap, new housing – but in unregulated zones created by the Tory government, and therefore probably won’t be worth having.

Whatever housing is offered to us, it probably won’t have the social infrastructure surrounding it that people actually need in order to live there.

Let’s be honest: This Writer can’t see any of the above as being a solution.

This Tory-created nightmare is just creating problem after problem.

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The Pound has plummeted; now interest rates will skyrocket. Here’s how it harms YOU

The grinning Kwarteng: do you think he intended to cause the chaos he has inflicted on the United Kingdom, and was actually laughing to himself about it during the Queen’s funeral?

Up close and very personal.

If you’ve got a mortgage, the amount you pay towards it depends on interest rates.

If they are going through the roof, then you may suddenly find that you don’t have enough to pay for your home – and, shortly afterwards, that you don’t have a home to live in.

Remember, the lower Pound means food will cost a lot more than it does already; we import 40 per cent of our food from the EU.

Now watch this:

The keyword from this is: unsustainable.

The answer, if the grinning Kwasi Kwarteng is still determined to avoid a windfall tax on energy firms’ profits, is higher taxes or cuts to public services – and he has cut the 45 per cent tax bracket.

So you can expect the axe to fall on public services – probably before the end of the year. That will mark the end of the UK’s society as you know it. Bye, Britain, it was nice knowing you (back in the 1970s before the Thatcher rot set in)!

Unaffordable food, housing (and energy, let’s not forget); a savage attack on public services to come. Is this what you wanted?

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Interest rate rise will hit your wallet hard and cause a deep economic recession

The Bank of England: its interest rate rise will hit you hard in the wallet.

The Bank of England has increased interest rates by a huge (for these times) 0.5 per cent in an apparently inexplicable move that won’t do anything to stop the current enormous increases in the cost of living.

What can possibly have possessed the Monetary Policy Committee at Threadneedle Street to do this monstrous thing?

The bank’s own forecasters are predicting that inflation will remain above 10 per cent until at least October 2023, putting huge pressures on ordinary people.

The bank is already predicting that the UK will fall into recession this year, and the interest rate rise will prolong it – so that, in three years’ time (after the next general election, take note), unemployment is expected to stand at six per cent of the workforce – and rising.

Energy prices – the main cause of the cost-of-living crisis – are expected to fall back during this period, although the predictions don’t take this into account. The hike in interest rates will not reduce the cost-of-living crisis in any way.

And the ultimate result, as Professor Simon Wren-Lewis points out in his latest Mainly Macro article, will be to reduce inflation to a point far lower than the Bank of England’s two-per-cent mandate permits. Who benefits from that?

Professor Wren-Lewis adds that it is possible the bank expects a new Tory prime minister – whoever that may be – to introduce support for people on low incomes in a bid to stop the excessive inflation and recession.

But there is no indication from either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak that they will do that; tax cuts promised by Truss will go to rich people and/or corporations.

And, as Professor Wren-Lewis points out,

Excessive monetary tightening based on a guess of fiscal loosening is a dangerous game to play.

Sadly for most of us, the danger applies only to the poor, working people who actually keep the economy moving.

Source: mainly macro: Why does the Bank of England appear to be ignoring its mandate?

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Which is more irresponsible – overspending billions of public pounds or ‘financial repression’?

Rishi Sunak: I like this shot because he looks nervous. If I was in his position, asking Tory backbenchers to raise taxes, I’d be nervous too.

Rishi Sunak has been accused of wasting billions of pounds of public money – your money – because he failed to insure against interest rate rises on government debt.

It means higher than necessary payments on £900bn of reserves created through the quantitative easing (QE) programme, according to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.

The loss over the past year is around £11 billion, the think tank estimates.

The Treasury has retaliated by saying NIESR’s proposal would undermine the independence of the Bank of England and be “hugely damaging” to the credibility of how public finances are managed.

Not only that, but there is an argument that, even if the Treasury had been able to predict the rate rise (which is possible), it would have been a potentially expensive bet – taking chances with the system.

Really?

Read the arguments here – if you can make sense of them.

The question for us as laypeople is, what do we think is more irresponsible – damaging the credibility of the public finances by pressuring the Bank of England to take a particular action, or damaging the credibility of the public finances by wasting £11 billion?

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Why is the Bank of England trying to stop us spending when we’re already doing that?

The Bank of England: it seems, behind this imposing facade, there lurks a circus complete with clowns.

It seems the economists at the Bank of England don’t have much of a clue.

They say they have raised interest rates to make it more expensive for consumers and businesses to borrow, so people start spending less, helping cool demand for goods and services and, in turn, slowing the pace of price rises; it’s a bid to curb inflation.

But people are already reining in their spending, because of inflation!

So the interest rate increase is pointless. Right?

Furthermore, as people are choosing to save (where they can), rather than spend, the growth of the economy is slowing – which is what the interest rate rise aims to do anyway. So it isn’t needed.

In fact, it may throw the economy into reverse, sending us into a recession.

And economists have warned that increases in interest rates may have little effect given rising global oil and gas prices, over which domestic changes can have little effect.

So there seems to be only one possible reason for the Bank’s decision:

Insanity.

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Interest rates may rise by a quarter of a per cent. Don’t panic!

The Bank of England: it’s raising interest rates in what looks like another bonus for the super-rich – and penalty for the rest of us.

Yes, it seems interest rates are set to rise to their highest point in 13 years but for those of us with mortgages and loans to pay, it’s only likely to go up to one per cent.

It’s potentially good news for those of us with savings – and remember that such people are expected to use their savings to smooth over the cost-of-living increases that are being forced on us by Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak – because it means we’ll have higher interest payments.

That’s if our savings last long enough for any interest to be recorded, of course. Otherwise it’s just another bonus for the super-rich.

The Bank of England is expected to increase its base interest rate to the highest level in 13 years in a bid to tackle inflation.

It is predicted to rise to 1% amid soaring food, energy and fuel prices that saw inflation hit a 30-year high of 7% in March.

Markets expect the bank rate to hit 1.25% later this year, going up to 1.5% by mid-2023.

There’s no explanation in the Sky News report (quoted above) of exactly how increasing interest rates will tackle inflation, so This Writer will believe it when I see it happen.

Source: Bank of England expected to raise interest rate to 13-year high to tackle inflation

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Sunak’s link to firm operating in Russia raises ‘double-standards’ issues

Sunak: while he’s been in Parliament saying businesses should divest themselves of involvement in Russia, his wife has been accepting share dividends from one that has chosen not to.

Let’s see if we can get this straight: as part of the UK government, Rishi Sunak has supported sanctions against Russian business interests in the UK – but his family has £400m worth of shares in a firm operating in Russia.

And he’s perfectly happy to have that connection?

That’s a bit – no, a lot – hypocritical, isn’t it? Not to say greedy?

As a government, he’s saying he doesn’t want Russian businesses to take money from the UK, but as a person, he’s saying he wants to benefit from his wife’s business interest taking money from Russia.

Downing Street is right to say this is a “personal issue for the Chancellor”; the attitude chosen by the government is right (or would be, if these sanctions had set to bite immediately they were announced, rather than a month later) and this is a matter for his conscience – and that of his wife, who owns the shares.

Apparently a Sunak spokesperson has said all is well because neither his wife nor any members of her family “have any involvement in the operational decisions of the company”. But they’re still taking money, aren’t they?

The firm itself – Infosys – says its presence in Russia is to service global clients locally, has no active business interests with Russian enterprises, and supports peace between Russia and Ukraine.

But that doesn’t matter.

As Labour’s Louise Haigh put it, “The chancellor has explicitly called on business to divest from Russia in order to inflict economic pain and ensure that the sanctions are as deeply felt as possible.”

And now we find that he wants every business to do that – apart from his wife’s.

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Partygate scandal is trivial ‘fluff’, says Rees-Mogg. Conflict of interest?

Jacob Rees-Mogg: he knows how to rave it up with the best of Tories! In fact, there’s no suggestion that he took part in the scandalous Downing Street parties – but there are still good reasons he should not discuss them.

Does Jacob Rees-Mogg think he’s an ‘influencer’ now?

He’s certainly trying to influence opinions over ‘Partygate’ – the scandal of the Downing Street parties that took place during Covid-19 lockdowns, with Tories raving it up in large groups when the rest of us were forbidden even from seeing our relatives who were dying of the virus.

And that’s not acceptable – because, as a member of the Tory government himself, his words represent a conflict of interest; he simply should not be talking about this issue.

For once, he should take a leaf out of his boss Boris Johnson’s book – and I don’t get to say that very often!

Jacob Rees-Mogg has dismissed the row over parties held during lockdown in Downing Street and across Whitehall as trivial “fluff”.

“All of that is shown up for the disproportionate fluff of politics that it was rather than something of fundamental seriousness about the safety of the world and the established global order.”

He’s wrong, too.

‘Partygate’ showed us that our government holds us in contempt.

Its ministers – including Rees-Mogg – are happy to behave in whatever foul and depraved ways they see fit and expect to get away with it, while the rest of us have to labour under the extreme demands they make of us – and use the police to enforce.

I was wrong. His words aren’t unacceptable; they are unforgivable.

Source: Downing Street partygate scandal is trivial ‘fluff’, says Rees-Mogg

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