Summary While not formally a regulator in the strict sense, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) exercises de facto regulatory powers in retail financial services, as its rules and determinations direct the behaviours of firms. While intended to be independent, the FOS has a close relationship with the Financial Conduct Authority. Ombudsmen, however, have considerable discretion ... Continue reading
Research
Summary The government has launched a review into British gambling law ‘to make sure it is fit for the digital age’. A coalition of activists has proposed a range of anti-gambling measures, including an advertising ban, low stake limits, a monthly spending cap, slower gameplay and a ban on VIP schemes, bonuses and inducements. Despite ... Continue reading
Research
Summary The five-year average tax burden in the UK is now at a 70-year high. The impact and opportunities of Brexit, coupled with the need to revitalise the economy in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, mean 2021 would be a good time for the government to embark on a tax-cutting programme. This paper analyses ... Continue reading
Research
Summary School closure has been damaging to the mental health of some children and to the educational progress of many. The long-term costs to individuals and the economy of this hiatus in schooling can be exaggerated, but are still likely to be substantial. The costs of the damage are likely to have fallen most heavily ... Continue reading
Research
Summary The Coronavirus pandemic has given rise to the phenomenon of ‘Coronfirmation Bias’, the tendency to interpret the pandemic as a ‘vindication’ of one’s own worldview. Three interpretations, in particular, have become part of the conventional wisdom: The idea that the UK was unprepared to cope with Covid-19 because a decade of ‘austerity’ had hollowed ... Continue reading
Economic Affairs
Subscribe to Economic Affairs Contents: Introduction (pages 1-2) IIMR Conference The fiscal and monetary response to COVID‐19: What the Great Depression has – and hasn't – taught us (pages 3-20) by George Selgin Can central banks run out of ammunition? The role of the money‐equities‐interaction channel in monetary policy (pages 21-37) by Tim Congdon Debt, ... Continue reading
Warns of upside risks to inflation, arising from a post-COVID boom In its meeting of 12th January 2021, held by video-conference due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, the Shadow Monetary Policy Committee (SMPC) elected, by a vote of nine to zero, to hold rates in February. There was unanimity that the announced programme of additional QE ... Continue reading
Summary Home ownership in the UK comes in two main varieties: freehold and leasehold. ‘Freehold’ is ‘home ownership’ in the way most people probably understand that term: undivided, unconditional and permanent ownership. ‘Leasehold’ denotes a more limited form of ownership, which is not permanent (although typically very long-term), and which is shared with an ‘ultimate ... Continue reading
Research
Summary Throughout the Covid-19 crisis, governments have relied heavily on the advice of epidemiologists and health professionals. Unusually, the economics profession has been conspicuous by its low profile in the policy making process. In an IEA paper published in May 2020, I argued that economic advice was an absolutely essential input into successful policy making ... Continue reading
Research

Should the government care?

Summary Self-employed workers have lost out badly during the pandemic. Their numbers have so far fallen more sharply than the numbers of employees. There is evidence that government assistance has been poorly targeted: over half of the self-employed have received no help. The Chancellor has hinted that, in return for the assistance the government has ... Continue reading