IMF: UK to Be Only Major Economy to Shrink This Year

New figures from the International Monetary Fund forecast that the UK economy is now expected to contract by 0.6% this year, having previously forecast slight growth of 0.5%. That’s the only contraction expected of all major and advanced economies – including Russia. The IMF cites energy prices, interest rate hikes, business borrowing costs and… taxes rises as the main factors for slowdown.

The ‘good’ news is the IMF has upped its forecast for 2024, now predicting 0.9% growth from 0.6%. It is also worth bearing in mind the IMF’s analysis isn’t gospel; it underestimated 2021’s growth by 2 points. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is doing his best to remind everyone of that:

“Short-term challenges should not obscure our long-term prospects — the U.K. outperformed many forecasts last year.”

He’s up in front of the 1922 Committee at 4:30pm this afternoon. Best of luck…

mdi-timer 31 January 2023 @ 08:32 31 Jan 2023 @ 08:32 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Sunak Sees Support Slump by 10%, Members Won’t Miss Zahawi

Rishi’s had a lot on his plate over the past month, from strikes to seatbelt scandal, and it’s been reflected in his popularity amongst conservatives. Conservative Home’s latest cabinet league table is out, and the Prime Minister is on 2.9%, down 10.2% on the last outing. Suella Braverman has also taken a hit, she’s on 17.3% – a decrease of 15%. Although Jeremy Hunt hasn’t lost any support, he hardly has reason to celebrate. He’s sat on -6.2%.

The top 5 most popular cabinet members remain unchanged. As the month’s big winner – no doubt from the government’s response to Scotland’s gender bill – Alister Jack climbs by 6%. Sunak’s decision to sack Nadhim Zahawi won’t have made him any enemies – at least from ConHome readers. The former Party Chairman saw his support plummet by a staggering 67.3% before his sacking…

mdi-timer 30 January 2023 @ 10:21 30 Jan 2023 @ 10:21 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Jeremy Hunt Clarifies Taxes After Bungled Q&A Answers

After Jeremy Hunt’s robotic speech this morning, the Lobby took to applying similar scrutiny to his tax affairs as they have been to his predecessor-but-one. After being asked if he’s ever had to pay HMRC a fine, Jeremy chose to avoid answering – twice – instead saying:

“I’m not going to talk about my personal tax affairs, but I don’t think there’s anything you’d find interesting to write about”

When pressed further by Harry Cole, he responded that “people at home aren’t remotely interested”. It’s not the first time Jeremy’s tax affairs have been scrutinised. 

Guido understands that unlike Rishi, who waited over four hours to put out a clarifying statement, Hunt’s just given a pool interview to the BBC where he confirmed he has never received a penalty from HMRC. Advisors really should be prepping clear answers to these inevitable questions…

mdi-timer 27 January 2023 @ 11:02 27 Jan 2023 @ 11:02 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Hunt: “Four Es” Needed to “Unlock Our National Potential”

Four Es is probably what was needed to get through that speech…

mdi-timer 27 January 2023 @ 10:55 27 Jan 2023 @ 10:55 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Treasury Mandarins Welcome Chinese Influence in Whitehall With Flags and Bunting

As Rishi faces backbench criticism for easing his rhetoric on China, Guido can reveal yet more incidences of warming relations with the authoritarian state. The Treasury today rolled out the red carpet to Chinese influence. Iain Duncan Smith should avert his gaze now.

In a special themed meal, the department displayed Chinese flags and oriental decorations. Knowing Whitehall, someone’s going down for cultural appropriation.

Co-conspirators won’t be surprised to see that the tofu-eating wokerati are making themselves at home in the Treasury, with “tofu, water chestnut and mushroom in black bean sauce” one of the meals on offer – for a modest £5.02. The meal went down well. A source claims the queue was the longest they’ve seen, adding that the dumplings “looked peng”. Guido’s just glad the Chancellor wasn’t behind the move. The coffers couldn’t handle the strain of subsidised sushi.

mdi-timer 19 January 2023 @ 17:16 19 Jan 2023 @ 17:16 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Labour’s Latest Party Political Broadcast*

Today the Labour Party has released a new party political broadcast, slamming the Tory government’s record on inflation. The video provides a damning summary of the state of the UK economy, framed around the cost of a simple cup of coffee. It includes hard-hitting facts such as “A year ago it would have been around £2.50 but now it’s gone up to nearly £3 a cup.”

“And the price of the weekly shop, if you look at food prices it’s gone up by about 16%, and for the poorest families the things they typically buy has gone up even more.”

The Bank of England’s inflation target is 2%, but currently inflation is about 10% – that means more expensive food, fuel, it means unemployment going up, businesses failing. The pound in your pocket is worth less than it used to be.”

The PPB was trailed in The Mirror last night, which wrote it would be “a hard-hitting video with no music or decoration”. Oddly, the paper reported it would feature a personal message from the Labour leader, however the version Guido’s got his hands on instead features a very convincing look-alike of Chancellor Jeremy Hunt.

The Labour Party broadcast* also bizarrely argues that inflation is both a global crisis the Tories had nothing to do with – ignoring that somehow a country like Switzerland, which that didn’t implement large scale quantitative easing (QE) had an average CPI of 2.8% last year – and claims that price levels are something the government can claim credit for bringing down. When actually energy inflation is, as the broadcast makes clear, the key factor. All very confusing, though more watchable than Rishi’s stiff to-camera party broadcast put out last week…

*Apparently it is a Treasury Political Broadcast

mdi-timer 18 January 2023 @ 09:05 18 Jan 2023 @ 09:05 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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