City Boys Staying in London

surprise

Mark Carney is up in front of the Treasury Select Committee this afternoon where he is going to have to explain why he cut rates and re-started QE prematurely to Jacob Rees Mogg, who thinks “He acted too early in my view. There was not sufficient evidence at that point that further monetary stimulus was needed and there are adverse consequences of abnormally low interest rates as well as beneficial consequences.” As the Citigroup surprise index (above) shows, most City expert economists got it wrong on a Brexit recession. In the last week alone Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and Credit Suisse have reverse-ferreted on their Brexit recession predictions. None have accepted Guido’s £1,000 wager offer…

fundmanagers-staying

On a similar theme it is worth reading the Centre for Policy Studies analysis out today on the pros and cons of Brexit for the financial services. Just as the consensus on a Brexit recession was misplaced (even Remain campaign financing investment bank JP Morgan has now conceded they were wrong) so too will the “City will lose out to Paris / Frankfurt / Dublin” consensus soon dissolve.  The above chart from Prequin shows that not many Masters of the Universe are keen to enjoy the Frankfurt nightlife…

What the City does want is “passporting”, assurance that the Square Mile’s firms will still be able to trade across the EU. The majority of the City’s exports in financial services (60%) go to countries outside the EU – not surprising when not one of the top 10 financial centres is in the EU. China and India are already choosing to do their capital market transactions in London, these are the growth markets of the future. In reality it is likely that if “passporting” obstacles were to be deliberately constructed, they could if necessary be circumvented by booking trades through EU based subsidaries. Zurich is the biggest financial centre on mainland Europe, it has bilateral deals with the EU, the City will want the same…  

IEA: Osborne’s Living Wage Hits Poor, Young, Minorities, Consumers, Taxpayers

go

George Osborne’s Living Wage is likely to see those it is supposed to help lose out, according to a new report from the Institute of Economic Affairs. The IEA finds that modest minimum wage increases may not cause higher unemployment, but large increases will. Who are the losers? The young, unskilled, minorities and those in the regions:

“Minimum wage increases are always potentially a trade-off, between raising pay for those fortunate enough to keep their jobs and hours against the potential reduction in labour demand. Any significant reduction in demand will hit young and unskilled workers, particularly those from minority groups, hardest. It is also likely to have a bigger impact in some parts of the country than others… the ‘bite’ of the National Minimum Wage has been considerably deeper in Northern Ireland and the East Midlands than in London.”

Higher unemployment is a long-term consequence:

“the longer-run impact of the minimum wage might be to generate larger reductions in employment”

And low-paid earners don’t actually benefit as they lose out in other ways:

“firms such as B&Q and Waitrose have been accused of lowering premium pay for weekends and other ‘unsocial hours’, while Caffe Nero staff seem to have lost the perk of free paninis – showing that minimum wage increases are no ‘free lunch’. Those gaining from pay increases therefore lose out in other ways than jobs or hours lost”

The report concludes that someone ultimately has to pay for any sharp minimum wage increase:

“the cost can only be borne by consumers paying more, shareholders getting reduced dividends, or taxpayers paying more”

The Living Wage might make political sense – it leaves Labour with nowhere to go – but the evidence is it hinders those it is supposed to help…

Vote Leave Chief Launching New Brexit Site, Taxpayers’ Alliance Reshuffles

Vote Leave chief Matthew Elliott is back at Business for Britain post-referendum, and Guido hears he will be setting up a new website called BrexitCentral. Former Lobby journalist Jonathan Isaby is leaving the Taxpayers’ Alliance to join as editor. It sounds like the site will offer plenty of comment and analysis – there is a gap in the market for some proper wonkish insight making sure Brexit means Brexit. It launches in September and Guido wishes them well, readers of this site will no doubt await with interest…

Isaby’s departure from the TPA means a reshuffle in wonk world. Tufton Street veteran John O’Connell, who has been at the TPA since 2009, will be the new CEO, another well-deserved appointment. They’ve also hired Tom Banks, who ran Vote Leave’s ground operation in Yorkshire, as their new grassroots campaign manager. More jobs created by voting to Leave…

May Hires Top IoD Wonk

SPADS

Theresa May has hired Institute of Directors wonk Jimmy McLoughlin to lead Downing Street’s business relations. McLoughlin, who worked on May’s leadership campaign, will replace Cameron’s arch-Remain SpAd Dan Korski. It’s a smart hire – May’s ‘reforming capitalism’ shtick means she’ll need help bolstering relations and McLoughlin is one of the most likeable people in SW1. Here’s the SpAd list as it stands:

Send any further updates to team@order-order.com

Long-Term Rise of Anti-Politics

This morning in Portcullis House researchers from the University of Southampton are presenting findings from a project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council on the rise of anti-politics, Tristram Hunt and Isabel Hardman are going to stick their tuppence in during an audience discussion. The conclusion is that those of us who want to see our lives de-politicised, and the politics-free space in our culture and society increased, are winning…

anti-politics-trend

Since 1945 and the expansion of the welfare state, the popular general dissatisfaction with government has risen 50%. Bigger government increases dissatisfaction…

Politicians are seen as more out for themselves than they were in the past. Whereas during the Second World War over a third of MPs were seen as doing the best for their country, now only 1 in ten are seen as doing so, and nearly half are seen as merely out for themselves.

pols-4-themselves

The academics see the rise of anti-politics as a problem. The inherent premise being that more politics will be good for us. Therefore the low popular opinion of politicians makes political action more difficult. Guido thinks this is a good thing, that the low esteem in which politicians are held is reasonable, people have made a more realistic appraisal of the nature of those who seek to rule over us. Politicians complain that they feel beset by the media and hostile voters because 72% of people see them as self-serving. Good. People should not be afraid of politicians, politicians should be afraid of the people…

Owen Jones’ Think Tank Helps Pay Off Deficit

The union funded CLASS think tank Owen Jones helped found has been fined £1,000 by the Electoral Commission. Unite veteran Steve Hart was stung with the bill after the Centre for Labour and Social Studies failed to deliver not one but two donation reports on time. “Any penalties that are imposed by the Commission go into the Consolidated Fund. This is managed by HM Treasury.” OJ’s band of deficit deniers are forced to help pay it off…

Brexit Debate Live Streaming

Tonight’s debate at the Institute of Economic Affairs (above) is an example of the civil war on the right – two IEA wonks Ryan Bourne and Diego Zuluaga are on opposite sides of the argument, Douglas Carswell and former Tory MEP John Stevens are bolstering the wonks. Such is the demand that they have already had to turn 200 ticket applicants away…

UPDATE: You can rewind the live stream to watch the debate.

More EU Sockpuppetry From IPPR

GDFS

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has today released a pro-European briefing outlining the minor renegotiations on Britain’s EU membership that it thinks would warrant staying in the EU. Titled “Unlocking the EU Free Movement Debate”, the document suggests small reforms in EU policy in five key areas are more than enough to stave off Brexit. Reform in our time indeed…

The IPPR however have omitted one tiny detail from their report: they are heavily funded by Europe. As Guido has previously reported, not only did they receive an €800,000 bung from EU in 2012, but their most recent accounts declare they received between £60,001 and £80,000 from the European Commission during 2014. So much for the “independent policy research” their mission statement boasts about. 

On top of this, its former associate director is none other than Will Straw, an ardent Europhile who left the IPPR recently. To work as the Executive Director of Britain Stronger in Europe. 

Given all this, Guido decided to give the report’s author a bell this afternoon to see if he could clarify the issue:

Guido: As far as I can see it doesn’t say anywhere in the report that the IPPR is funded by Europe.

Marley Morris: Yes, that’s correct, we’re not.

Guido: So you’re not funded by Europe?

Marley: Correct, we don’t receive any funding from Europe. Some people say we do, but we don’t.

Guido: But on your website it says you received between £60,001 and £80,000 from the European Commission during 2014.

Marley: Uhhh… Uhh… Oh yes… Uhh I think there was another project funded by… uhh… Europe that someone was… uhh… working on.

And people said “Marley and Me” wasn’t funny…

Glottal Mobility is Social Mobility

cut-glass

Clare Foges, “the woman who put words in David Cameron’s mouth” when she was his speechwriter, reckons if we all spoke like the Prime Minister the problem of declining social mobility would be solved. Like a modern day Professor Henry Higgins she thinks a veneer of gentility will do more for social mobility than tax credits. At first Guido was amused with Clare’s article in The Times, however on reflection, by George, I think she’s got it.  If only the common people could be more like the PM…

So if the government is serious about social mobility, it is time to revive the tweedy old concept of elocution. Schools should teach children how to speak as well as how to think. Lessons on pronunciation and projection should come as standard.

One school in Basildon has led the way. At Cherry Tree Primary the children learn to pronounce “thought” instead of “fought”, “both” instead of “bofe”. Ambitious parents have long sent their children to elocution lessons to help them get on.

Why shouldn’t we extend those same opportunities to all children? Having polled a smattering of the chattering classes there is clearly profound squeamishness about elocution lessons. One likened them to “verbal social cleansing”. Others saw it as a capitulation to prejudice: the world needs to change its view, not the children their voices. All very right on but it won’t break this invisible sound barrier.

Guido, as someone who has glottal issues, suspects she’s on to something…

Osborne Jokes About Leadership Coup

The Chancellor has been caught joking about bringing down the PM.

Steady on Gideon…

IFS: Osborne Has Deviated From His Long Term Plan

OSBORNE-TODAY-PORKIE

This morning Guido highlighted several of the Chancellor’s Budget porkies, this afternoon the IFS twists the knife. Osborne told the House that “we shouldn’t go faster, we shouldn’t go slower” on the rate of deficit reduction. Yet Paul Johnson from the IFS confirms we are indeed now going slower:

“the long term plan did change again. In the March Budget, and indeed in the Conservative manifesto, we were promised budget balance by 2018-19. That magic moment has now been shifted back to 2019- 20. In part that reflects a gentler than planned path for spending cuts, including welfare spending cuts”

They explain:

“Relative to the March Budget, borrowing forecasts rose for each of 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018- 19 despite increases in tax receipts resulting both from forecast changes and policy announcements. One result is that budget balance is now expected in 2019-20 not in 2018-19. The increase in borrowing and delay in reaching budget balance is largely down to an easing in the planned public service spending cuts through to 2018–19.”

So cuts are easied and borrowing is increased – all while taxes rise. What was that David Cameron said in the TV debates?

“More debt and more taxes, more debt and more taxes…”

Digital Government Boss Regrets Lack of Women

mike bracken

The biggest mistake Government Digital Service has made in recent years is failing to hire more women according to Mike Bracken, the head of GDS. Speaking to an audience at Policy Exchange yesterday, Bracken repeatedly refused to say what GDS should have done differently during his four year tenure other than to have diversified its workforce more.

“I regret not putting forward more stridently a generation of women in GDS at the start, and then in the technology profession. I regret not starting actively on that sooner, because while you’ve got a few great emerging leaders there’s not enough.”

Techno is a fan of the GDS and, of course, an ardent supporter of women in tech, up to a point. It seems Mike Bracken has forgotten about GDS’s failure to meet even half of its targets for online services, or how they borked the Home Office Visa and Immigration site, or how they fell way short of the mark with the Verify program and failed to turn around the disastrous rural payments system. Yet the biggest problem is that ‘only’ about 40% of GDS employees are women? What is the primary mission of the GDS? Gender equality or getting things to work?

Gordon’s Tax and Benefits Mess

tax+benefits

According to an ONS release today the mythical average household is £31 better off after taxes and benefits are taken into account. Think about all the complexities of tax collection collection and benefit calculation, the bureaucracy and time wasted. It really is time for a lower, flatter, simpler, single income tax…

The statistics also confirm that after 5 years of “we’re all in it together” that Osborne has raised taxes on the richest 20% and reduced the burden on the poorest 20%.  The bottom quintile are net recipients of just over £10,000 in welfare transfers from those who actually pay taxes. Will no one stand up for the wealth creators?

Danny Blanchflower Does it Again

Guido has in the past reflected with some scepticism on Danny Blanchflower’s economic forecasting.

There’s been an election and we have a new government, so it’s only fair to offer him fresh start and a chance to prove us wrong.

Last month derpy Danny wrote in the Indy that, despite wage rises in the previous two months, “Chances are next month we will see a big drop again. I will keep you posted”.

Well?

This month’s figures out today show that “Comparing February to April 2015 with a year earlier, pay for employees in Great Britain increased by 2.7% both including and excluding bonuses”. Here is the continuing rise in wages in graph form from the ONS:

Keep us posted, Danny…

IPPR: Tax the Poor

ippr-tax-the-poor2

Labour wonkshop IPPR have published a list of policy proposals today that aim to tackle the adverse affects of the government’s low-carbon programme on low-income groups. That would be the same IPPR who have spend years pushing for the decorbonisation policies that have disproportionately screwed over Britain’s poor…

The IPPR’s solutions to the problem include public ownership of new nuclear capacity and lifting the moratorium on onshore wind farms. Gaia would expect nothing less from the place that let a wind energy company write their report on wind power…

24 Hour Drinking: In Numbers

Today’s new Institute of Economic Affairs report by Christopher Snowdon looks at the impact of 24 hour drinking. Guido has crunched the numbers into a handy infographic:

As the report finds: “Facilitating longer opening hours may have been the best thing the Labour Party ever did…”

Ben Harris-Quinney OUT of Bow Group

Following a successful round of media interviews during the election campaign, Guido understands that Bow Group chairman Been Harris-Quinney has decided to step down to spend more time with his numerous other made up jobs. Every single patron of the group blasted BHQ for his Blue-kip endorsement plan so the writing was on the wall.

Tory Wars: Bow Group Split Over UKIP Endorsement

Ben-Harris-Quinney

The oldest Tory think tank has descended into open warfare after its chairman said Conservative supporters should vote UKIP where the Tories can’t win. Earlier today Ben Harris-Quinney told the Telegraph:

“Our preference at this election is a Conservative majority, but few in the Conservative Party will acknowledge the reality that this is now very unlikely to happen… We recognise the need to keep Ed Miliband out of Number 10, and the best way to do this is for Conservative voters to lend their votes to Ukip, who are best placed to beat Labour in many areas.”

He has a point…

This evening at CCHQ’s behest four patrons of the Bow Group have kicked back at Harris-Quinney. Michael Heseltine, Michael Howard, Norman Lamont and Nirj Deva MEP said in a punchy statement:

“As Patrons of the Bow Group we believe that this country’s best interests are served by voting Conservative in all situations. Ben Harris-Quinney does not speak for us or represent our views.”

Blue on Blukip!

Labour Manifesto Author Backs Tory Right-To-Buy Policy

MARC-STEARS-ED-MILIBAND

Marc Stears, Professor of Political Theory and Fellow of University College, Oxford, is not merely an old university friend of the Labour leader, he is one of Ed’s closest advisers and his chief speech-writer. More importantly he is the co-author of the Labour manifesto.

In 2012 Stears wrote approvingly in the New Statesman about an IPPR report calling on the left to favour letting housing association tenants have a right-to-buy:

The stable patterns of social interaction that are associated with communities of ownership are preconditions for the kind of social reciprocity that the left champions, as well as the more conservative disposition that is more usually commented upon. There is, in other words, a social argument for ownership…

 An argument being made by the author of the Labour Party manifesto, for a policy appearing in Conservative Party Manifesto… 

Last night however the knee-jerk Labour twitterati collectively lost it when they heard of the Conservative manifesto commitment to introduce a right-to-buy for housing association tenants. Atul Hatwal, editor of Labour Uncut, was a lone Labour voice of sanity:

It could have been so different, the policy could have been a Labour manifesto commitment if only they had taken up the recommendation from the Labour aligned IPPR think-tank:ippr-sell-homes

The report recommended:

Extending the rights to buy, acquire and manage to all housing association homes, levelling the playing field in terms of opportunities for ownership and control in social housing… 

… there are currently over a million housing association properties which cannot be bought by their tenants through the right to buy or right to acquire (Davis and Field 2012), and the right to manage does not apply to housing association homes. Notwithstanding the legal, logistical and administrative challenges entailed, the rights to buy and acquire (with the discount rate sensibly capped) and the right to manage should be extended to all housing association homes

The authors were not wild-eyed wonks, they were Andy Hull and Graeme Cooke. Hull is a councillor in Islington and the Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance and since leaving IPPR now works for Owen Jones’ left-wing Class think tank. Cooke used to be a SpAd when Labour were in government and still works for IPPR (helping to write the Condition of Britain report which inspired a lot of the Labour manifesto).

Labour tweeters attacking the Tories for putting this policy in their manifesto should know that comrades Hull and Cooke recommended this policy as a way to improve housing. Alan Milburn and Frank Field also called for the right-to-buy years ago. No doubt the Labour twitterati will say these are all irredeemable Blairites (they’re not), therefore apostate. Marc Stears however is Ed Miliband’s left-hand man and he too supports the right-to-buy for housing association tenants. 

First They Came for the Upper Decile…

top-decile

Yesterday was another orgy of “bash the rich” political populism. Once again, as the above chart from the Treasury shows, the most productive people were punished the most by the Chancellor. This is because he thinks it is good politics. It isn’t.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Tory MP Nick Boles says what everyone thinks…

“There is a timidity and lack of ambition about Mrs May’s Government which means it constantly disappoints. Time to raise your game, Prime Minister.”

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