Treasury wants reinvention of public sector

  • 21 July 2015
  • From the section Business
HMT

It is incredibly bad economics to compare household finances and state finances.

But occasionally it is useful, for illustrative purposes.

And today I want you to imagine what you would cut from your lifestyle if told that your income would fall by either 25% or 40%, after adjusting for inflation, over the next four years.

It is quite a scary thought, isn't it?

Presumably, if you haven't done it already, you'll think about switching the weekly shop to one of those discounters. You will heat up the water for fewer hours. And the kids' swimming lessons will have to go.

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Greek banks face full nationalisation

  • 20 July 2015
  • From the section Business
Greek euro coins and bills

Just because the doors of Greek banks are open today, don't be fooled into thinking they and the Greek economy are anywhere near back to recovery.

There are still major restrictions on the ability of their customers to obtain their cash or move it around:

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Governor: interest rate rise on agenda at turn of year

  • 16 July 2015
  • From the section Business
Mark Carney

It has been more than six years coming, but the Bank of England's governor has today almost put a date on the first change in the interest rate it controls - a rise of perhaps 0.25% - since March 2009.

In the unlikely setting of Lincoln Cathedral, Mark Carney has indicated that, barring some dramatic change in the health of the British economy, an interest rate rise will be on the agenda at the end of the year, when recent falls in oil and commodity prices will have washed out of the headline inflation rate.

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Will German parliament back Greek deal savaged by IMF?

  • 15 July 2015
  • From the section Business
Bank in Greece

So two more questions about the ramifications of the IMF's trenchant opposition to the current planned structure of a Greek rescue.

First, will the Bundestag, the German parliament, back the proposed bailout, absent support from the IMF?

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Has IMF blown up Greece rescue?

  • 15 July 2015
  • From the section Business
Greece protestor

Just when it looked as though there could be a pause in the eurozone's Greek crisis, the International Monetary Fund has launched a blistering attack on the bailout deal forced on Athens by Germany and other eurozone governments.

It estimates that Greek government debt will now reach a peak of close to 200% of GDP or national income over the next two years - which it regards as impossibly and unsustainably high.

Read full article Has IMF blown up Greece rescue?

Greece 'back in serious recession' despite rescue

  • 13 July 2015
  • From the section Business

Greece's economy will contract a further 3%, Athens minister Rania Antonopoulos has told me in a BBC interview.

The alternate minister for combating unemployment, who was a professional economist, said that the combination of the closure of the banks and austerity measures being forced on the country by eurozone and IMF creditors will tip Greece back into serious recession.

Read full article Greece 'back in serious recession' despite rescue

How damaged is eurozone and EU by Greek debacle?

  • 13 July 2015
  • From the section Business
A Greek flag against a bleak sky

Over the weekend, the director of one of the world's biggest drug companies told me that this company had given up expecting to be paid by Greece for the life-saving pharmaceuticals it makes.

But for those dependent on its cancer and other treatments to stay alive, for example, it would not stop supplying them - though now for free. It could not and would not pass a death sentence by withholding medicines.

Read full article How damaged is eurozone and EU by Greek debacle?

Could euro survive temporary exit of Greece?

  • 12 July 2015
  • From the section Business
Bank of Greece

Unsurprisingly there is tremendous nervousness among politicians and bankers in Athens about the failure of the Eurogroup to make announceable progress on a rescue deal for Greece - and also among influential investors in London.

Here are just a few of their concerns - focused in particular on the idea, put forward by the German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, that there perhaps could and should be a temporary exit of Greece from the euro.

Read full article Could euro survive temporary exit of Greece?

Athens capitulates to creditors

  • 10 July 2015
  • From the section Business
Alexis Tsipras

Not for the first time over the five years of Greece's euro crisis - or the eurozone's Greece crisis - I am confused.

My confusion stems from the proposals for tax, benefit and economic reform submitted by the Greek government to secure, at the very last minute of the last hour, a deal from their creditors to avoid tumbling out of the euro.

Read full article Athens capitulates to creditors

Osborne ends Britain's big squeeze

Osborne and treasury team

So it turns out George Osborne did not need LibDems in government to tell him to take off his hair shirt.

Because today's Budget is massively less austere than the one forged with them in March, just before the election.

Read full article Osborne ends Britain's big squeeze