Shadow Monetary Policy Committee vote on rate raise in June

In its June 2018 e-mail poll, the Shadow Monetary Policy Committee (SMPC) elected, by a vote of Seven to Two, to raise rates in June. One member voted for an immediate rise of 0.5%. Six favoured a 0.25% rise. Two favoured holding rates. Advocates of raising rates acknowledged that monetary growth has recently been weak ... Continue reading

Brexit provides opportunity to slimline costly regulation of insurance market

Summary:  The extent of regulation of insurance companies has grown significantly in recent decades. The ‘freedom with publicity’ regime which defined the regulatory approach from 1870 to 1970 appeared to work and ran with the grain of the market. Arguments that are given today for prudential regulation of insurers tend to be spurious or not ... Continue reading

UK must initiate negotiations with the EU as soon as possible

The timing and sequencing of trade negotiations is a subject that does not command much attention from commentators.  Yet, many of the substantive discussions are in danger of becoming academic if this issue is not better understood. By contrast, the EU has shown a much stronger mastery of how the timing can be used to ... Continue reading

Clamping down on offshore financial centres would not raise tax revenue

Summary:  Offshore financial centres (OFCs) are alleged to be hotbeds of tax evasion. Their role in facilitating individual and corporate tax planning, which is entirely legal but politically controversial, has also come under the spotlight. However, OFCs play an important economic function. By mitigating instances of double and triple taxation, offshore centres raise aggregate investment. ... Continue reading

IEA releases Brexit briefing on the case for 'MaxFac'

Summary: Of the three current options for UK''s future customs arrangements with the EU, 'MaxFac' has the best chance of making the most of the opportunities created by Brexit. MaxFac isn’t something completely new: it simply means agreeing to keep customs arrangements as streamlined as possible. What’s more, the systems and technologies for MaxFac already exist ... Continue reading

WHO proposals on sin taxes could increase a British family’s food bills by nearly £500 each year

Summary:  The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called on governments to raise the price of sugar-sweetened beverages by twenty per cent and to increase taxes on alcohol. It also supports taxes on food that is high in sugar, salt and/or fat. Michael Bloomberg, a WHO Ambassador, has set up the Task Force on Fiscal Policy ... Continue reading

Why we shouldn't panic about automation, algorithms and artificial intelligence

Summary: 1. It is claimed that robots, algorithms and artificial intelligence are going to destroy jobs on an unprecedented scale. 2. These developments, unlike past bouts of technical change, threaten rapidly to affect even highly-skilled work and lead to mass unemployment and/or dramatic falls in wages and living standards, while accentuating inequality. 3. As a ... Continue reading

SMPC take poll on Bank rate raise in May

Ending six months of unanimity for rate hikes, the Shadow Monetary Policy Committee (SMPC) voted at its April meeting to raise Bank rate in May by eight votes to one. Six of the nine wanted to see a rise of ¼%, two an increase of ½% and one a hold. Seven members had a bias ... Continue reading

New index shows UK second best place in the EU to be a vaper

Introduction:  The Index tracks over-bearing, paternalistic lifestyle regulation across the EU in four categories: alcohol, e-cigarettes, food/soft drinks and tobacco. Nanny state interventions in these areas are invariably promoted on grounds of health and yet it is difficult to see how clamping down on vaping benefits public health. Paternalistic arguments can be made for interventions ... Continue reading

Brexit can improve UK’s financial services industry, argues new report

Introduction:  As the most globally active financial services provider, the UK has the potential to be a key player in helping to develop a more efficient international regulatory framework after it leaves the EU. All entities that have efficient and attractive financial services offerings will benefit from having better global financial services regulation. The UK ... Continue reading