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Category: Economy

  • January 10, 2011

    The economic mission for 2011 – growth

    Forget national sovereignty or control orders, it is the thrust for economic growth that has pride of place in January’s grid for government action. At its heart must be a restoration of the UK’s traditional reputation as an outward-looking trading nation and the liberation of our businesses from red tape. Somewhere in a globalised economy that is proudly ‘open for business’. Most of the UK’s economic competitors are desperate to break into developing markets in China, India and south east Asia. Financial services and its vast array of associated professions has provided...
  • December 15, 2010

    Safe as houses? Why savings should not always be in bricks and mortar.

    Solve the underlying causes of the West’s failure to save adequately and the global imbalances that lie at the heart of the current financial crisis should then correct themselves. Yet as the events of these tumultuous past two years show us, this is far easier said than done. Populist measures to chasten the banking sector are simple enough to devise, but the underlying, deep-seated structural problems facing our economy require tough strategic analysis, potentially divisive policy changes and a harsh dose of reality...
  • November 30, 2010

    The next financial crisis is now upon us

    An abridged version of the following article appeared in this morning's City AM. To view it, click here. Last week a few unpalatable home truths began to become apparent to the UK political class. Nevertheless, the acute financial woes in Ireland are likely to prove a side-show to a much more serious sovereign debt crisis that threatens to engulf European financial markets in the months ahead. Outside the single currency the UK may smugly stand, but as this drama unfolds it is clear we will be directly affected. Some 55% of our external trade is with the Eurozone and our exports are likely to become considerably less competitive as the Euro depreciates ...
  • November 23, 2010

    The true cost of the UK’s liabilities

    Last week, ConHome noted the absence of any questions at PMQs about Britain’s role in a potential bailout of Ireland. With the possibility of the UK contributing billions of pounds to help shore up our near neighbour’s economy, the Opposition leadership instead focussed all six of their questions on police numbers. It was an episode symptomatic of our increasing national immunity to big figures. The more we have read about ‘billions’ over the course of the financial crisis...
  • November 18, 2010

    Mark writes for Daily Telegraph

    Mark was featured in this morning's Daily Telegraph discussing his concerns for the future of our financial services industry. We have posted a copy of his article in the Newspaper section of this website but you can...
  • November 3, 2010

    Mark stands up for the City

    Mark will be launching a defence of the City this afternoon in a Westminster Hall debate he has tabled on rebalancing the economy. Previewed on the front page of this morning's City AM, the paper's editor, Allister Heath, said 'His excellent speech is unusually brave and lucid. Others must now stand up for London’s most important industry, taxpayer and employer'. We shall be posting Mark's full speech online tomorrow but in the meantime it can be previewed on the blogs of City AM, the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal.
  • October 20, 2010

    The first cut is the deepest?

    There has been furious activity in recent days amongst the ConHome community with claim and counterclaim about the extent of the cuts. So just how severe can we expect this week’s Comprehensive Spending Review to be? For sure the unrelenting austerity message risks undermining business confidence, which urgently needs to be boosted by a growth strategy and a consistent recovery plan. Moreover, the fall-out of the likely future spending cuts, especially in terms of public sector employment, cannot readily be dismissed as minor fiscal tinkering...
  • October 14, 2010

    Welfare reform never comes cheap

    No one can accuse the government of paucity of ambition as it seeks to overhaul the paralysingly complicated array of welfare benefits. Wisely it also recognises that such wholesale reform cannot be rushed. It will – electorate willing – prove a two-term task. The holy grail of ending the welfare trap for those in the workplace, who otherwise stand to be better off claiming benefits, has been tantalisingly elusive...
  • September 13, 2010

    An Inequitable Outcome?

    The saga of Equitable Life often seems second only to ‘Bleak House’ in the annals of protracted legal process. Rummaging through my own papers the other day I realised with amazement that I had first spoken in parliament as long ago as November 2002 in defence of Equitable Life policyholders, who have been treated so shabbily. Although the scandal never affected me personally, I have received in my postbag a long and steady stream of correspondence from Equitable Life policyholders since I was first elected in 2001...
  • July 28, 2010

    The Looming Threat of Protectionism and What It Tells Us About the Path Ahead

    ‘A Double Raid on UK Plc as Overseas Buyers Swoop’ was how the Evening Standard fearfully described both a recent bid by a US-Canadian consortium to buy British manufacturing firm, Tomkins, and the revival of merger talks between France’s GDF-Suez and the UK’s International Power. That news of either deal would have raised eyebrows in alarm a few years ago seems unlikely. And yet how the coalition government reacts to the selling of these British assets to foreign buyers is being watched with close interest....