Would a 'no deal' Tory government borrow as much as Labour?

  • 2 December 2019
  • From the section Business
Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn Image copyright BBC / Getty

The Labour Party freely admits that its manifesto would lead to a marked increase in government borrowing.

In general it deploys an argument used by all parties, including the Conservatives, that there is a global consensus stretching from the IMF to Brussels and Tokyo to borrow more at currently cheap government borrowing rates in order to invest to increase productivity.

But it is borrowing all the same. At £55bn a year it is so much of an increase that Labour are yet to actually allocate it.

Add in the unfunded £58bn promise (£11bn a year) to compensate women state pensioners, and a reasoned expectation that Labour's plans will not raise £83bn solely off the rich and big businesses, and you get to annual deficit numbers of around 3.5% to 4% of GDP, according to both the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.

The Liberal Democrat's fiscal plans, suggest borrowing of below 2%, according to the IFS, partly as a result of its aim to run a 1% surplus on day-to-day spending.

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The big election trade-off - what have we learned?

  • 27 November 2019
  • From the section Business
UK and US flags in front of the Houses of Parliament Image copyright Getty Images

The emergence of these lengthy secret accounts of two years of US-UK trade discussions are important for several reasons.

They are the clearest account of a deal that could be done and dusted in the Parliament that is about to be elected.

Read full article The big election trade-off - what have we learned?

Tory manifesto a 'steady as she goes' document

  • 24 November 2019
  • From the section Business
Boris Johnson Image copyright PA Media

The Conservative Party manifesto contained no rabbits out of the hat, no huge tax cut - but a promise not to raise them - and no big new spending item.

It has been designed as a "steady as she goes" modest effort - the equivalent of a rather low key Budget, with some targeted help.

Read full article Tory manifesto a 'steady as she goes' document

Labour's big-state, big-spend, transformation plan

  • 21 November 2019
  • From the section Business
Jeremy Corbyn Image copyright Getty Images

This is a radical attempt to change Britain's business model, involving not just huge amounts of public spending and investment, but also an attempt to rewire the way the economy works.

Labour's answer to "can we afford this?" is "we can't afford not to" - arguing that only a very active government can reshape the economy to change the fate of the country, in particular to meet the green challenge.

Read full article Labour's big-state, big-spend, transformation plan

Lib Dems are banking on taxation with a purpose

  • 20 November 2019
  • From the section Companies
Jo Swinson Image copyright PA Media

The Liberal Democrats are, on the face of it, planning the most austere attitude to borrowing of all the major parties.

Unlike both the Conservatives and the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats have positioned their aim for the taxes raised annually over and above the day-to-day costs of public services to run a surplus of 1%.

Read full article Lib Dems are banking on taxation with a purpose

Why did the Lib Dems go tough on spending?

  • 20 November 2019
  • From the section Business
sir ed Image copyright Getty Images

The Liberal Democrats are, on the face of it, planning the most austere form of fiscal policy of the major parties.

Unlike both the Conservatives and the Labour Party, they have positioned their aim for the taxes raised annually over and above the day-to-day costs of public services to run a surplus of 1%.

Read full article Why did the Lib Dems go tough on spending?

Why does Labour want to give away free broadband?

  • 15 November 2019
  • From the section Business
Young woman looking at smartphone while using laptop Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Labour Party is pledging to bring broadband internet under the control of Westminster

Whereas Margaret Thatcher recast the privatisations of the 1980s into share giveaways that popularised mass participation capitalism to some voters, this Labour move seeks to do the exact reverse, nearly four decades on.

It is an attempt to turn state ownership into an election-friendly retail policy: free broadband for all.

Read full article Why does Labour want to give away free broadband?

Chancellor: There'll be changes to customs with EU

  • 11 November 2019
  • From the section Business
Chancellor Sajid Javid Image copyright PA Media

Chancellor Sajid Javid has acknowledged that "there will be some changes" to customs procedures for all UK traders with the European Union (EU) as a result of the Brexit deal the Conservatives intend to enact should they win the General Election.

"When we trade with the EU there will be some changes but it also means there's opportunities," Mr Javid told the BBC.

Read full article Chancellor: There'll be changes to customs with EU

Labour and Tories plan for a post-austerity future

  • 7 November 2019
  • From the section Business
Money Image copyright PA Media

Both major political parties have dropped a key target that would see the national debt falling over time.

The move will allow tens or even hundreds of billions more in investment spending on hospitals, schools, housing and public transport.

Read full article Labour and Tories plan for a post-austerity future

Top civil servant blocks Tory costing plan of Labour policies

  • 6 November 2019
  • From the section Business
Mark Sedwill Image copyright Getty Images

Civil service head Sir Mark Sedwill has dramatically blocked a Conservative plan to use civil servants to cost the Labour Party's fiscal plans.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell had complained vociferously to Treasury Permanent Secretary Tom Scholar in a meeting on Tuesday over the Conservative plan.

Read full article Top civil servant blocks Tory costing plan of Labour policies