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Central banks have been talking a lot about the need for clear communication with the public lately, and they may have a point about how that could improve their standing.
A working paper published by the Swiss National Bank this week analyzed survey data from its U.K. counterpart and found that the average Briton’s knowledge of what the Bank of England does is pretty sparse.
While that isn’t a radical revelation – policy makers from across the world came to Frankfurt just last week to discuss how tough it is to teach the public about such complex issues – what is noteworthy is how much better their reputation would be if normal citizens did understand central banking. (Bloomberg – Continue Reading)
Former chancellor Ken Clarke writes in his memoirs that in British political history there is nothing so dead and forgotten as old budgets. That must be reassuring news for Philip Hammond. The current chancellor’s sticking plasters this week are best understood as a far from glorious 21st-century application of Harold Macmillan’s advice to Tory chancellors that “we must do something, or else the socialists will promise everything”.
This short-term approach lay behind the measures on stamp duty, universal credit, the NHS and the regions. But Wednesday’s modest handouts were dwarfed by the historic slowing of growth, and the consequently falling real wages and living standards over which Hammond presides. These will shape British life in the coming decade far more than any of this week’s budget measures. None of Britain’s political parties have the measure of this yet. (Guardian – Continue Reading)
The national debt has ballooned to £1.6tn, equivalent to 79.6% of GDP, and is forecast to keep rising for 2018. This vast sum is offset by wealth, largely in bricks and mortar, of more than £8tn. The shortfall in income versus expenditure is expected to persist until the mid-2020s, when the government expects to balance the books.
Business rates GBP30bn
This tax on premises has become increasingly controversial as high street firms face far larger bills than online traders working out of vast warehouses in cheaper areas. A recently rebalanced system that favours the north and west over London and the south-east could need ??tinkering to prevent a backbench rebellion among Tory MPs in the ?home counties?. (Guardian – Continue Reading)
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