Recession watch

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Afternoon all, Happy recession day. To help you mark the occasion, TOTCs is 24 hours early this week. And we’ve got a recession special from myself and James Smith (who runs our macroeconomic work), unpacking today’s gloomy GDP stats with everything you need to know. It’s not pretty, but if you think this is grim, just be … Continued

The societal wrecking balls of social media and hot parents

Afternoon all, Over-egging your policies is normal pre-election behaviour. And we’re definitely in the, so long it makes you want to end it all, pre-election phase. But this week had a different theme: those policies getting watered down. Jeremy Hunt’s reining in expectations for the scale of tax cuts to come in the March Budget, telling … Continued

Fraying safety nets, social circles and fertility rates

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Afternoon all, It’s nice when there is something to bring the country together. Like the worst. Coup. Ever. The Prime Minister’s opponents and supporters all agree that Simon Clarke’s was the least successful heading over the top since Blackadder’s reluctant effort. That’s the risk with cunning plans. We say we want our politicians to represent the … Continued

Britain isn’t post-work

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Morning all, Apology in straight away. This was going to be a normal TOTCs, but I got sufficiently annoyed about a BBC headline this week that you’ve got a TOTCs special on… the idea that we’re about to be, or should be, post-work. “AI to hit 40% of jobs and worsen inequality, IMF says” it … Continued

Things aren’t as bad as you thought.

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Afternoon all, And a belated happy New Year. 2024 is going to be better than 2023. Why am I confident? Because reversion to the mean is a powerful thing. As we covered a fortnight back, it’ll be messy but at least there’ll be winners, as well as the losers we’re all used to being over the past few … Continued

Resilient rust belts, cash conspiracies and dumping on the Dutch

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Afternoon all, A classic week on the economics/politics front – another numpty MP means another by-election’s on the way and the economy managed to actually shrink in October. The latter’s got the over-excited saying we’re recession bound – I’ve no idea if that’s right (note today’s PMI survey shows firms perking up a little, consistent … Continued

An Ending Stagnation special

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Afternoon all, Did I mention we’ve been conducting an Inquiry into the UK economy – the Economy 2030 Inquiry? Thought not. Well we have, and this week we published its Final Report. Ending Stagnation: A New Economic Strategy for Britain is out, single handily solving all your hardest “what to get your mum/brother/lover/small child for Christmas” … Continued

Autumn Statement of intent

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Afternoon all, Hot tip in case any of you end up running the Resolution Foundation one day: don’t move house the weekend before a major fiscal event. It’s not good for your sleep/blood pressure/marital bliss. Anyway, what’s done is done – we’re in the new place and Jeremy Hunt’s made his (VERY long list of) … Continued

Super spuds and smashing the patriarchy

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Afternoon all, The Autumn Statement pre-briefing is well underway. The latest is that the Government is fed up with people who left their last role years ago just sitting around, announcing tougher sanctions if they don’t take a role when offered. Which at least explains why David Cameron took the Foreign Secretary gig. We get the new … Continued

Longer lie-ins across Britain and more savings booty for the boomers

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Afternoon all, First, the good news. This morning’s GDP data for Q3 2023 was better than economists expected. The less good news? Better than expected means… the economy flatlined/stagnated/stalled – or whatever you want to call 0 per cent growth. That shouldn’t be surprising given surveys of firms and consumers have been telling us gloom is setting in, and the Bank … Continued

The perils of overconfident youth, and underconfident shoppers

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Morning all, So. Many. By-elections. Will no-one think of the voters. Or the pundits, who can only say seismic so many times. Yesterday’s ones weren’t even close, which is particularly surprising in Mid-Bedfordshire given Keir Starmer’s main conference promise was to concrete over decent chunks of the shires house building wise. I’m starting to think a … Continued

A winning woman, successful jocks and social media FOMO

Afternoon all, Conference season is done. South of border anyway. The punters will have taken away from it that the Government can’t get a train line built and Keir Starmer got glittered – which may not be bad for a man accused of not having enough glitz. And they’ll rightly recognise all of it pales … Continued

Euston, we have a problem

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Afternoon all, Euston, we’ve got a problem. Or more accurately, we’ve got a problem: Euston. The station suspiciously lies behind all the big stories this week. By being quite so expensive to sort out, Euston’s centre stage in the HS2 debacle may see the train line dominating the (rather small) market for Brummies visiting suburban … Continued

Not all eggs are created equal

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Afternoon all, Good news Britain – we’ve had a little ‘the economy did better than thought’ pick me up from the ONS this morning (the UK managed growth of 0.3 per cent in Q1 2023 up from the previous estimate of 0.1 per cent). Combine that with the earlier upgrade to the size of the … Continued

Zero sum doom loops and the seven bin armageddon

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Afternoon all, Well if last week was quiet, this one was anything but. The Bank are done on rate rises* and Rishi Sunak is done with rushing on net zero**. Obviously everyone should have been done with Russell Brand years ago. I’ll be honest, the PM’s net zero speech was problematic. Forget the content (see … Continued

Policy lessons on how to have children, and how to bribe them

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Afternoon all, A moderately quiet week politics/economics wise. Which is nice. Unless you’re a renter hoping we’d actually stop the ‘landlord evicting you for fun’ thing, given we’ve got yet another delay to the Renters Reform Bill. There has been the ‘how much should pensions go up next April’ row, but even that was half … Continued

Britain’s big search for profits, puffers and prisoners

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Afternoon all, The G20 in India will get all the weekend headlines, but without sounding too parochial we shouldn’t be moving off the story of Birmingham quite so quickly. Way too many people in Westminster sounded surprised the city council’s declared bankruptcy. And there’s been no discussion of the city’s even more important deficits on … Continued

Brooding over beer and crunching the cricket numbers

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Afternoon all, I’m all for some routine in life. It helps contain the existential angst. So at least the Bank of England is helping with their now traditional monthly interest rate rise. Obviously that’s less useful on the financial angst front, but you can’t have it all. I’m down in Dorset today and didn’t see … Continued

Close encounters of the productive kind

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Afternoon all, Last weekend I wrote a short article on Britain’s dangerous habit of getting distracted public policy wise. Luckily (for the article’s accuracy, not for Britain) the last week has rather proved the point. The response to the ULEZ/Uxbridge row? Government playing footsie with the idea of scrapping plans to phase out new petrol/diesel … Continued

French fears and WFH Anglo-Saxons

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Afternoon all, Turns out by-elections are just like sports days at ‘woke’ primary schools – everyone gets to win something. Uxbridge was clearly a bit of a surprise, but Conservative politicos of an optimistic bent should probably take more heart from this week’s inflation news than the west London result. I’m no soothsayer, but it’s … Continued

Longer working lives and parental worries about pay rises

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Afternoon all, So… I’m all for yesterday’s public sector pay announcements for bringing to an end teacher strikes traumatic home-schooling flashbacks. But it’s worth pondering two rather less self-centred implications. First, the price of public sector workers is up but with little extra funding for these pay rises the quantity is likely heading down. Today is probably … Continued

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