Declare Your Interest, Mr Johnson

Yesterday, IFS director Paul Johnson was one of a minority of wonks to praise Boris’s new social care policy, saying the “world is a better place after today”, describing it as a “progressive and broad based increase”. The PM was so happy with this review he quoted the IFS at PMQs:

“Actually, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has confirmed that this is a broad-based and progressive measure.”

The IFS’ wider response to the policy noted, “those who have more of their wealth in financial assets will continue to be penalised relative to those whose wealth is in the form of their main home – even if the latter’s wealth is much more in total.”

Among other reasons why might Mr Johnson back such a policy? A 2014 Times interview saw the IFS boss actively boasting about his impressive property portfolio:

Six-beds in Muswell Hill now sell for £2,650,000, according to OnTheMarketWhy might Mr Johnson be so supportive of a high-tax system that favours property owners?

mdi-timer 8 September 2021 @ 16:28 8 Sep 2021 @ 16:28 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
IFS Predicts Borrowing to be £55 Billion Higher than Forecast Four Years Ago

The IFS’s pre-Budget 2020 report makes for less-than-positive reading for fiscal conservatives, with the think tank saying government borrowing in 2019-20 is set to be £44 billion – £55 billion more than the £10 billion surplus they forecast Britain to be enjoying by now in their 2016 forecast. With Boris’s current spending plans, borrowing will rise to £63 billion next year…

The IFS has also said that Rishi Sunak should “recognise that more spending must require more tax”. It seems Rishi is taking this to heart, with reports this morning of plans to increase taxes for diesel used by off-road vehicles and machinery, and cut Agricultural Relief and Business Property Relief. Both policies would raise £3.2 billion – far off the £100 billion Boris is said to need for his splurge…

Thankfully it does seem the Chancellor is turning away from the idea of raising fuel duty after lobbying from Tory MPs in northern Red Wall seats. A letter signed by 18 ‘Blue Collar’ Tories makes the obvious point such a rise would hit working-class communities the hardest...

mdi-timer 26 February 2020 @ 09:00 26 Feb 2020 @ 09:00 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
IFS: Labour Proposing the Most Punitive Corporate Tax System in the World

UPDATE: He’s even more emphatic with ITV…

mdi-timer 21 November 2019 @ 13:02 21 Nov 2019 @ 13:02 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Wonk Wars: The Rankings

ComRes have today revealed their rank bank of think tanks, assessing where the esteemed establishments rank among MPs of different parties. Their bi-annual survey of MPs has found that the Centre for Policy Studies and the Institute of Economic Affairs come out on top among Tory MPs, with 65% and 59% of Tory MPs respectively endorsing them for their ‘high quality output’. Free market ideas still rule the roost, despite the leanings of the current party leadership…

Additionally, 39% of Conservative MPs say the CPS is one of the most influential think tanks, with the IEA nearest on 35%. The Centre for Social Justice, Institute for Fiscal Studies and The Taxpayers’ Alliance follow closely behind to round out the top five. The CPS are by far the biggest climbers with a sizable 13% jump, testament to their recent star hires

Labour MPs liked the IPPR best, with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and IFS falling in behind. On an overall cross-party basis, the top five most influential wonks were the IFS (37%), followed by the JRF (30%), Chatham House (28%), the IEA (28%), and the CPS (24%).

Oddly, the Adam Smith Institute wasn’t included in the list for MPs to choose from, despite some big policy wins this year. Guido hears the CPS has sportingly called on ComRes to include the ASI next time round…

Read the report in full below:

Read More

mdi-timer 5 March 2019 @ 16:45 5 Mar 2019 @ 16:45 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
IFS Forecasts About Brexit Consistently Wrong

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has been allowed a huge quantity of free airtime and column inches in the past few days to bash the Brexit dividend and talk down the economy. The Lobby takes Paul Johnson’s word as gospel. Which is odd, considering the IFS’s record on these matters…

The IFS made a substantial number of predictions about Brexit which turned out to be completely untrue, including:

  • That a vote to leave would be “seismic” and that “the economy would suffer… There’s no doubt we’d suffer in the short term”. There was no recession following the UK’s vote to leave; no abnormal change in inflation; no rise in unemployment; and no fall in wage growth…

  • The IFS said if the UK voted to leave “the stock market, would dive, making us all poorer”The stock market has risen to record highs…

  • The IFS also said that investment would dry up if the UK voted to leave: “Investment… would fall”. Net foreign direct investment flows from the EU into the UK in 2016 were the highest in 10 years…

The IFS’s forecasts are politically inflected:

  • In 2011, the IFS predicted that by 2014/15, absolute child poverty would have risen from 17.5% to 24%. In fact, it fell to 17%…

  • The IFS predicted that GDP growth in 2017 would fall to 1.6%. In fact it rose to 1.8%…

A cynic might point out that the IFS admits on its own website that it receives tens of thousands from the European Commission. But on his forecasts alone, Guido isn’t sure Paul Johnson really merits all this media veneration… 

mdi-timer 19 June 2018 @ 10:39 19 Jun 2018 @ 10:39 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Campaign Report: 28 Days to Go

veterans for britain

Leave message: Veterans say NATO is responsible for UK’s security, not the EU.

Remain message: Remain means lower prices in shops.

Cut through: IFS.

Leave social media count: 412,093 likes, 45,685 followers.

Remain social media count: 419,575 likes, 30,196 followers.

Odds: Remain 1/5, Leave 9/2

Latest poll: Remain 44%, Leave 38% (Survation, phone). Poll of Polls is now Remain 53% (-2), Leave 47% (+2).

mdi-timer 25 May 2016 @ 17:09 25 May 2016 @ 17:09 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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