Britain's curious consumer-led recovery
On the Office for Budget Responsibility's analysis of what's going on in the British economy, there is a bit of a mystery about why the recovery is happening now, as opposed to last year or next year or some other time.
What I mean by that is that the recovery has been driven, on the OBR's analysis, by households spending a good deal more than it and other economists anticipated.
But, says the OBR, this has happened at a time when growth in real household disposable income has fallen from 1.6% to 0.5% - which, for what it's worth, is less than the growth in the real aggregate spending power of the household sector in the immediate post-Crash years of 2009 and 2010.
And, of course, these aggregate numbers paint a misleading and too rosy a picture of what's been happening to living standards for most British people; according to official figures, median or typical household income for those who haven't retired has fallen 6.4% since the 2008 debacle.
However the OBR's real household disposable income calculations and forecasts are a guide to the direction of travel, and the point is that 2013 is a year of slowdown in the recovery as it affects people.
Chancellor’s return to 1948
There are a number of striking assertions by the Office of Budget Responsibility, whose forecasts underpinned the chancellor's Autumn Statement.
One is that by 2018-19, when the OBR expects the budget to be in surplus, as a result of a projected fall in the annual deficit by a remarkable 11.1% of GDP, government's "consumption of goods and services - a rough proxy for day-to-day spending on public services and administration - will shrink to its smallest share of national income at least since 1948, when comparable National Accounts data are first available".
Treasury argues for tax cuts
Last night the Treasury published a two-page summary of new analysis it has carried out on the "dynamic" effects of cutting taxes.
What it shows, says the Treasury, is that the cuts the chancellor has made, and is still making, to the rate of corporation tax will, over 20 years:
UK economy and Tesco diverge
Tesco this morning announced that in the three months to 23 November, underlying or like-for-like sales in the UK were down either 1.4%, or 1.5%, or 1.6%, depending on which of the three blinkin' measures published by the giant grocer is the most reliable.
There is no point in getting into the nuances of the calculation of this measure of sales, since they all tell the same story - sales down.
UK education: Average won't do
The impression created by the OECD's triennial assessment of educational performance - its Programme for International Student Assessment, or Pisa - is that the UK is a slightly lazy and spoiled rich kid, that does a bit of last-minute cramming to scrape a pass, but disappoints relative to its economic advantages.
Or to put it another way, the performance of UK 15-year-olds is pretty average in respect of outcomes - bang on the international average for maths and reading, a bit above in science - but that doesn't look great, given that the UK spends well above the average on education and its students are significantly richer than in many countries where attainment is much higher.
So how much will energy bills rise?
So how much is actually coming off energy bills as a result of the fiendishly complicated shuffling and reworking of various initiatives to reduce carbon emissions and reduce fuel poverty?
Well if you take the average 9% increase in dual fuel bills announced by the biggest supplier British Gas, owned by Centrica, that increase will be cut to circa 6%, and there will be a £12 rebate on top - so the 9% increase in effect becomes 5%.
New City same as old City?
Yesterday I tried - not desperately successfully - to imagine a world outside of the day job, because I was feeling in need of a speedy reboot and re-charge.
This morning I need to break my fast of financial news, temporarily at least, because there were two developments yesterday in sagas that have been woven into the fabric of my recent life.