Act now, or pay later

The OBR’s Fiscal Sustainability Report makes clear the implications of a crisis-driven rise in unemployment for the public finances

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The OBR’s latest Fiscal Sustainability Report confirms its view that the current crisis could lead to the largest economic contraction in 300 years precipitating a return of unemployment levels not since the 1980s. Given the huge uncertainty, the OBR has produced three scenarios with different assumption about a timetable for finding a vaccine or other … Continued

Summer Economic Update July 2020

Resolution Foundation overnight analysis

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This was not a Budget, but was still a big deal with £30bn of measures to support the economy. This is particularly significant when seen in combination with £160bn of pandemic-related support already announced, leaving borrowing this year on course to reach £350bn. Debt interest costs will continue to fall, although the crisis will leave … Continued

Optimism in a time of coronavirus

While undoubtedly gloomy, today’s Monetary Policy and Financial Stability Reports from the Bank of England envisage little lasting damage to the economy or financial system

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Today the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee provided its first major assessment of the impact of coronavirus on the economy. The MPC envisage growth this year to be the weakest in over 300 years, with a fall of 25 per cent expected in the second quarter, and a fall of 14 per cent for … Continued

Doing more of what it takes

Next steps in the economic response to coronavirus

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The Government has responded to coronavirus by shutting down large parts of the UK economy, and socialising the costs of doing so through a package of fiscal support to firms and individuals unprecedented in size and scope. Given uncertainty about how long public health restrictions will need to be in place, economic policy makers need to be prepared to manage what could … Continued

Helicopters on standby?

With rates at all-time lows, the Bank of England needs a different playbook for this crisis

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With a big recession on the way, the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee would normally be unveiling measures to support the economy today, and this piece would be discussing what they’ve done. But we are not in normal times. Instead, the Bank of England does not have the option of cutting rates in the … Continued

Safeguarding governments’ financial health during coronavirus

What can policymakers learn from past viral outbreaks?

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In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, governments have taken unprecedented steps to protect the health of their citizens and support their economies. They now need to take extraordinary steps to safeguard their own financial health through what could be a protracted period of economic disruption necessary to contain and eradicate the virus. This paper … Continued

Euston, we have a problem

Is Britain ready for an infrastructure revolution?

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The centrepiece of the new government’s first Budget is expected to be an ‘infrastructure revolution’ – spending at least an additional £100 billion over the next five years on public investment. This is significant because such spending has the potential to support economic growth, improve living standards and protect the environment. So this report considers … Continued

The Macroeconomic Policy Outlook Q1 2020

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This is the first of a new series of Macro Policy Outlooks (MPOs) from the Resolution Foundation’s Macroeconomic Policy Unit, providing a policy-focused take on the economy. In this edition we explore the outlook ahead of the Budget due on 11 March. The economy has slowed significantly in recent quarters, with 2019 the second-weakest post-war … Continued

The beginning of the end… …but not the end of the beginning

Governor Carney’s valedictory speech discusses the future of the UK’s monetary policy remit – but this is just the start of an important debate

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The beginning of the end… After several false starts, the appointment of his successor (Andrew Bailey) means Mark Carney finally has a leaving date (15 March). He can now concentrate on the serious business of organising his leaving parties securing his legacy from his longer-than-expected time as Bank of England Governor. That all started yesterday … Continued

Playing by their own rules?

We analyse whether the policy platforms announced by the main parties are consistent with their own fiscal rules

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Fiscal rules are crucial for the government’s stewardship of the public finances and framing its economic priorities. So it is welcome that the main parties have prioritised setting out the rules they would follow, with their announcements following to different degrees the approach recommended by earlier Resolution Foundation work. But fiscal rules are only useful … Continued

Recession ready?

Assessing the UK’s macroeconomic framework

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This report is the launch paper for the Resolution Foundation’s Macroeconomic Policy Unit. It provides the most comprehensive assessment of the UK’s macroeconomic policy framework since the financial crisis, focusing on the ability of the framework to provide effective support to the economy in the face of the next recession. This work is important, given … Continued

Quantitative (displ)easing?

Does QE work and how should it be used next time?

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After the financial crisis, central banks purchased massive amounts of long-term bonds to stimulate economies. These purchases have come to be known as quantitative easing (QE) and have been hugely controversial – barely a third (37 per cent) of UK Members of Parliament, when polled, support its use in future. In theory, QE stimulates the … Continued

A problem shared?

What can we learn from past recessions about the impact of the next across the income distribution?

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While the received wisdom from the 1980s and 1990s recessions was that those at the bottom of the income distribution suffer most during severe downturns. But this was less obvious in the aftermath of the financial crisis. So this briefing note looks at what lessons we can learn from that episode about the distributional impact … Continued

Failing to plan = planning to fail

The risk of recessions and the importance of macroeconomic policy in limiting the damage they cause

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There is a relatively high risk that the UK will experience a recession in the next few years, bringing with it significant and lasting damage. Macroeconomic policy will once again need to play its part in mitigating this damage. But the legacy of the financial crisis looks likely to limit its power, making it all the more important to open up the debate about what is possible.

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