Andrew Griffith is finally ditching his handsome Grade II-listed house on Great College Street. A cosy distance from Westminster, St. James Park, and Pimlico tube stations, the Georgian property is the perfect addition to an aspirational Westminster operator’s portfolio. It’s even got views of the Houses of Parliament…
The 9-bedroom, 6-bathroom “quiet enclave” was previously used as the Boris team’s campaign HQ. Boris conducted meetings in the “imposing drawing room” and three reception rooms. That must be the “fascinating history” estate agents Dexters are referring to…
Now his Griffith’s kids are grown up the Science Minister is probably looking to downsize and spend more time in Sussex. The attached housekeeper’s apartment must add a few quid to upkeep…
The energy efficiency rating of the property isn’t brilliant at a D, though there is potential to upgrade to C. It was listed around 10 days ago. Don’t expect to get change out of £10-15 million…
Following the Institute for Fiscal Studies’ damning report that this parliament will be the most tax-raising on record, the economic secretary to the Treasury Andrew Griffith confirmed concerns that the tax burden won’t be relieved any time soon.
Speaking on Times Radio, he was asked if he could commit to no further tax rises . “Regretfully” he replied, “I can’t give you a commitment“. He did at least assure listeners the Conservatives are “philosophically” in favour of a strong economy and “directionally” support low taxes. ‘In theory’ and ‘in practice’ aren’t quite the same thing…
We are at that stage of the political cycle where newspaper editors start to temper their usual criticisms of the opposition. A prime beneficiary of that has been Rachel Reeves, whom we now learn in fawning profiles is some kind of chess wunderkind as well as a fiscally conservative former Bank of England economist. All sagacious commentary now paints her as the safe pair of hands Britain needs from its first woman Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Which made her press release this week about “Rishi Sunak’s failure to heed warnings on debt issuance costing taxpayers £56 billion” extraordinarily embarrassing. It was a bit technical, and no doubt this was deliberate to demonstrate her mastery of arcane financial matters. The press release in her name claimed:
In October 2020, the Institute for Fiscal Studies warned Sunak that – given the large sums being borrowed during Covid-19 – the “costs of financing it just slightly wrong will be large.”
They said that the way to tackle that risk was to sell more long gilts, in other words: use a longer term, lower cost borrowing approach that would have protected public money more from sudden spikes in interest rates.
Instead, Sunak opted for a short term, high risk approach, which has left the UK exposed to inflation going up, building up substantial costs down the line.
Because of the then-Chancellor’s choice to ignore those warnings, it means that the UK now issues far more index-linked gilts than other G7 countries*, over twice as much as a share of the second-placed country which is Italy.
There are a number of problems with this argument. The first and most problematic of which is that the IFS actually recommended issuing longer dated index-linked gilts. The reason for this is that the gilt market would not be able to absorb issuance on the scale of the covid borrowing that was not index-linked. This would be obvious to anyone with a basic knowledge of government debt markets.
In any case the Debt Management Office, an arm’s-length branch of Treasury which is in constant touch with the gilt market, advises on what maturities the market can absorb. It’s not done by the Chancellor having a guess at what might work. The idea that £400 billion of gilts could have been issued at the prevailing low rates at the long end without the rate moving suggests a basic failure to understand how markets function and how prices move with supply and demand. Responding to her claims, Economic Secretary to the Treasury Andrew Griffith is blunt:
“Rachel Reeves and Labour have completely misunderstood the expert advice they are quoting. The only thing Labour understand about debt, is how to increase it.”
Another Treasury source was equally condescending, chortling that it was “hilariously shoddy analysis from the kids at Labour HQ”.
*The Tories have come up with seven specific questions for Rachel Reeves to answer on the Labour Party’s amateur debt analysis:
London remains the top European country for attracting foreign investment in financial services, with 46 projects in the capital receiving outside investment last year, up from 39 in 2021. Warnings that London would plummet down the rankings following Brexit have time and time again proven to be a false alarm, as Paris saw foreign investments fall from 38 to 35 and Madrid drew in 22 compared to 29 the previous year. Milan came fourth in the rankings.
A four per cent rise in jobs created through financial services investment projects proved experts wrong who had previously predicted Brexit would cause a loss of jobs, investment, and innovation to the continent. Economic secretary to the Treasury Andrew Griffith cited “a tremendous track record of attracting the brightest and best companies in the world” and the UK’s “attractiveness as a place to do business” as reasons for London topping the table every year since Brexit. Don’t trust everything you read on the BBC.
The story so far.
After Toby Young got cancelled for cultural crimes four years ago, he set up the Free Speech Union to help others threatened by cancellation. The project prospered, it took on staff. Young expanded his activities into the Covid information wars via another start-up, the Daily Sceptic. Then, abruptly, Paypal cancelled him and them. A third of Young’s organisations’ revenues were processed by Paypal and the services was switched off with little notice and less explanation.
It was the first sign that Britain was going down the same path as the US where big tech companies are adopting political positions and regulating the speech of their customers, keeping them within official limits.
There was a row. MPs and peers rallied. They understand. They are classed by banks as Politically Exposed Persons and have their own difficulties with bank accounts and financial services. Enough pressure was brought to bear on Paypal – a notoriously difficult company to engage with through normal channels – and after a week, in late September, the accounts were restored.
Now read on…
For the second time in four days, a paper has managed to mix up bald white Tory minister Andrew Griffith with bald, white, Tory secretary of state Ben Wallace. First it was the Sunday Mail, now it’s the Mirror…
The Mirror also managed to confuse Kwasi Kwarteng with the president of international for Bank of America earlier this month. Hard lessons obviously learnt. Picture desks: catch up…
UPDATE: Griffith responds: “We really must stop going to the same hairdresser!”