Hammond Hires ‘Diversity Focused’ Recruitment Firm To Find Next Bank of England Governor

For the first time in the Bank of England’s 325 year history, the Chancellor has hired a recruitment firm to seek out the next Governor of the Bank of England to replace Mark Carney when his term ends in January 2020. Naturally you would expect Hammond to chose a firm that specialises in high level finance executives. Instead, he’s picked Sapphire Partners – an all-female partnered firm advised by a certain Cherie Booth that specialises in promoting women and minority candidates…

It seems strange that for the most senior job in the world’s most significant financial centre, the Chancellor has hired a firm not to seek out the most talented candidates of any gender or race based on knowledge and experience. Instead it seems he’s specifically looking to promote candidates based on their gender and race…

UPDATE: A Treasury source defends the decision to Guido: “A competitive process was used with a number of firms approached to tender these services. It was all in line with the Bank of England’s procurement policy.” It’s not the first time the Treasury have partnered with Sapphire, they were also used to hire two new members of the Bank’s Financial Policy Committee earlier this year…

Conservatives Break Through 1000-Seat Loss Mark

Labour’s shock poor performance today has shielded the Conservatives from much of the criticism their woeful local election performance deserves. The Tories were bracing for losses around the 700-800 mark, the higher numbers briefed out last week were meant to be for expectation management purposes. They have just plunged through the 1,000-seat loss mark…

One of the bigger Tory casualties was Arun District Council leader Gillian Brown – it just so happens that Brown is Philip Hammond’s mother-in-law. That’ll make for some awkward conversations at the next family occasion…
UPDATE: The final casualty count for the Tories is 1,332 Councillors, their worst performance since 1995. Two years before Major was annihilated by Blair…

Hammond: Second Referendum is ‘Perfectly Credible Proposition’

This will go down like a cup of cold sick with Tories already incensed by Theresa May’s approach to Jeremy Corbyn. Both Steve Barclay and May herself refused to rule out second referendums yesterday, a Government source confirmed to Guido then that nothing was off the table besides a full-on revocation of Article 50. Brexiteers fear an even greater betrayal coming…

Hammond: Second Referendum Should Be Considered

Chancellor Phil Hammond telling Sophy Ridge that a second referendum “deserves to be considered” gives you a clue as to why Treasury no deal planning has been such a pathetic exercise in foot dragging.

Hammond: ‘Physically Impossible’ to Leave on March 29th

The veiled threats from tin-eared Hammond this morning are not going down at all well with Brexiteers. Putting one of the least-trusted Remainer Cabinet ministers out on broadcast just before a crucial vote is hardly the best way to rally support for it…

Hammond: “I Don’t Think” I Told Anyone I Was Going to Abstain

Worst non-denial ever…

Hammond Refuses to Rule Out More Cash For DUP Support

Hammond repeatedly refuses to rule out the DUP “delivering again” for Northern Ireland. Of course the cash will be going to Northern Ireland itself, not the DUP. Not that it will stop metropolitan elite commentators from sneering at one of the UK’s most underinvested regions getting a boost…

Massive WW2 Bomb at No Deal Airport Nicknamed “Big Phil”

No-deal planning at Manston Airport in Kent – the site of the infamous lorry parking exercise – has suffered a bit of a blow after the discovery of a massive World War Two bomb. It turns out that the bomb is actually a giant British pipe bomb which was deliberately planted under the runway in order to destroy it if the Germans invaded, before being found in a drainage ditch today. Guido hears that because of the way it’s hampering no deal preparations one Cabinet minister has already taken to calling it “Big Phil”…

OBR Forecasts 600,000 New Jobs and Continuous Growth Over Next Five Years

The OBR has released its March forecast alongside Philip Hammond’s Spring Statement today, predicting 5 more years of continuous growth. They also forecast 600,000 jobs being added to the economy. George Osborne is going to be waiting for his half a million job losses for a while yet…

The OBR have also upgraded their assessment of public finances for the next five years, with a lower projection of Government borrowing than in their last report before the Budget last year. Hammond has announced that the much-anticipated Spending Review will be launched before the Summer recess – if a Brexit deal goes through…

Wing Man

Phil Hammond on Today revealingly referring to…

‘… my colleagues on the Brexit wing of the Party.’

Hammond Calls Colleagues ‘Extremists’

Speaking to Sky News, the Chancellor said that tonight’s confidence vote will be won by the Prime Minister, and serve to “flush out the extremists” in his party. Guido isn’t sure that calling dozens of colleagues ‘extremists’ is the best way to endear them to May’s administration… 

Hammond Stumped on Crucial Backstop Question

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox’s legal advice to the Cabinet on the Northern Irish backstop was finally revealed to the public today, though on the basis of Philip Hammond’s appearance at the Treasury Select Committee this morning, Guido is not certain that the Cabinet have read it in that much detail themselves.

Under questioning from the SNP’s Stewart Hosie, the Chancellor failed to answer a pretty fundamental question on whether the backstop would mean that that the EU could offer third countries access to the UK’s market without the UK getting access to the third country’s market in return, as is the case with Turkey today.

As this 2016 European Parliament report on Turkey makes clear, third countries “do not have any obligation to conclude such agreements with Turkey. Indeed, it is more advantageous for these countries not to conclude preferential agreements with Turkey because they already have access to the Turkish market through the EU-Turkey CU.” This morning Hosie asked Hammond if this humiliating one sided arrangement would also apply to the UK under the backstop. He couldn’t answer…

Caption Contest (Rescue Edition)

Treasury Modelling Based Off Nonsense Assumptions

The Treasury’s modelling is notoriously dodgy. So dodgy in fact that in 2010 George Osborne set up the independent Office for Budget Responsibility to provide less political analysis than the hyper-political plaything of the chancellor of the day.

Economist Andrew Lilico has pointed out that in its analysis, the Treasury makes three remarkable assumptions.

  • Assumes there is no economic gain at all from controlling our own policy compared with the EU doing it.
  • Assumes there is no gain from “Future domestic policy choices.”
  • Assumes GDP gains from new trade deals with non-EU countries are only 10% of what the EU estimated those gains would be.

These are clearly ludicrous assumptions as no credible economist assumes there are zero economic gains to be made from liberating companies from EU red tape. This further exposes the Treasury as a political tool not a serious economic body.

Guido remembers the Treasury’s bogus analysis during the referendum….

“Britain’s economy would be tipped into a year-long recession, with at least 500,000 jobs lost and GDP around 3.6% lower, following a vote to leave the EU, new Treasury analysis launched today by the Prime Minister and Chancellor shows.”

In February of this year, Cambridge academics concluded that most of the economic impact assessments before the referendum were “flawed”, and that the Treasury’s analysis was particularly bad.

“The short-term forecasts of the Treasury and OECD, which have turned out to be wrong, have further damaged the already weak public confidence in economists’ contributions to public debate.”

Wrong then, wrong now…

Hammond Slaps Down Rudd: “It Could Be No Deal”

Last night on his new show, ITV’s Robert Peston asked the Chancellor whether May’s deal being voted down by Parliament could lead to a ‘no deal’ scenario.

 “If Nicky [Morgan] and Amber Rudd are right and we’re not going to get no deal, you’re spending a colossal amount of money for something that’s not going to happen…”

Slapping down Amber Rudd’s assertion that Parliament would somehow “stop no deal,” Spreadsheet Phil told Peston that if the withdrawal agreement is voted down the UK would be in unknown territory, confirming that “it could be no deal.” Cabinet unity still going strong then…

UN-Loving Snowflakes Accuse May of Undermining Rules-Based International Order

The snowflakes at the United Nations Association have had a hissy fit to accompany the visit of another UN special rapporteur to the UK in order to fill Guardian column inches investigate “extreme poverty”, releasing a patronising note to warn British journalists of the “consequences” of “negative media coverage during a special rapporteur’s visit”Terrible when an international organisation has to face some level of scrutiny…

They have also compiled a list of eight egregious examples of British politicians “engaging in rhetoric which undermines the value placed on the rules-based international order”. It features no fewer than two separate accusations against Prime Minister Theresa May and one against Philip Hammond, for such heinous crimes as criticising tank-chasing lawyers and daring to accuse a UN body of making a “ridiculous” finding. Send them to The Hague!

Former Foreign Minister Sir Huge Swire is also named and shamed as one of the top British saboteurs of the international legal order… for tweeting this adorable picture of him cuddling his dog:

It’s not like the UN has any more serious instances of countries undermining the international rule of law to be worrying about. Oh, wait…

UPDATE: An earlier version of this article referred to the United Nations as the easily-offended organisation – it was in fact the United Nations Association.

Batten Gets Gregg-on-Face

UKIP’s astute new leader has fallen for joke twitter account called “GuardianMemeWin“. The account describes itself as “the most insufferable newspaper parody account ever” in its twitter bio. Batten’s analysis was retweeted by the official UKIP twitter account…

Beleaguered Batten is not the only one to have fallen foul of a fake account. Yesterday evening CCHQ retweeted a fake, unverified Philip Hammond account. It even spelled his first name incorrectly…

After making that mistake too many times Guido tends to block parody accounts…

Front Page Phil Good Factor

The Treasury will be happy with the coverage the Chancellor got this morning. So far the budget hasn’t unravelled, because the ambiguity of the budget has meant the Labour counter attack and Corbyn’s irrelevant response are getting no traction. The commentariat is unclear if it really signals the end of austerity or not, it certainly signalled a slowing in the urgency of the effort to close the deficit…

Budget: The Think Tanks’ Verdict

Hammond appears to have avoided a Halloween horror show with several popular announcements including a freeze on beer, cider and spirits duty and bringing the income tax threshold rise forward to next April. However, fiscal hawks are alarmed at the rate of fiscal expansion. Here’s what the wonks made of it…

The Centre for Policy Studies is happy for now but calls for a more radical Budget post-Brexit:

“The focus on the end of austerity, giving hard working people more money in their pockets through tax cuts for 32 million people, and the largest ever increase in NHS spending without any rise in personal tax are hugely welcome. However we hope the Government pushes a more radical agenda that delivers for ordinary people once the Brexit deal is complete.”

The TaxPayers’ Alliance is broadly positive but calls for more serious tax reform:

“Increases in the personal allowance and higher rate income tax thresholds, with freezes to taxes on beer, cider, fuel and short-haul flights, will give much-needed breathing space to hard-pressed taxpayers. That said, the tax burden overall will be still be increasing. And to truly seize the opportunities afforded by Brexit, we should be looking at a much more serious and overdue reform of the tax code.”

The Adam Smith Institute is significantly less impressed, calling it a “botched budget”:

“What the Chancellor gave with one hand though, he took with the other as he hit firms large and small that make capital losses by restricting their exemptions—meaning less risk taking, less profit and fewer economic dividends… A digital revenue tax—lifted straight from the Corbynite playbook—will punish the millions of people who shop online and use online services every day.”

The Institute of Economic Affairs also takes aim at the “Fiddly Budget”:

“More broadly, it was a Budget littered with spending commitments across the board. In an attempt to signal the ‘end of austerity’, it appears this government has given up on deficit elimination… Fiscal responsibility is being sidelined, giving way to short-term giveaways and unaffordable pledges.”

As the Office for Budget Responsibility points out, the Government would have been on course to balance the books by 2023 with the unexpected fiscal windfall this year, but has spent it all already:

“Buoyant tax receipts and an improved outlook for employment have delivered the Government a significant fiscal windfall since March, sufficient to deliver its objective of a balanced budget by 2025. But this had already been swallowed up by the Prime Minister’s promise of more money for the NHS in June, to which the Chancellor has added a further near-term tax and spending giveaway. This leaves the medium-term outlook for government borrowing little changed since March.”

Balancing the budget was meant to be this Government’s fiscal priority, yet this Budget puts it firmly on the back burner…

Phil’s Potty Mouth

Big Phil spent over a minute making jokes about his mandatory business rates relief for public lavatories. There are some real groaners here…[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

Seen Elsewhere



Tip offs: 0709 284 0531
team@Order-order.com

Quote of the Day

Ruth Davidson on working with PM Boris

“I have worked with him when he was Foreign Secretary. I will work with whoever the Prime Minister is. I haven’t had a phone call yet to ask me to run his campaign in Scotland. I am not expecting the call. But I will genuinely judge him on the same criteria as I judge any of the candidates.”

Sponsors

Guidogram: Sign up

Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.
Farage Milkshaker Unmasked Farage Milkshaker Unmasked
ChUK Blame Game ChUK Blame Game
Angry Esler Angry Esler