March 2, 2011
One of the curiosities of the global bank bailout process since September 2008 has been the consensus that this episode symbolised courageous, decisive government action at its best. The nation’s economy teetered over a precipice, mere hours away from a refusal by cashpoints to dole out any more banknotes. The conventional wisdom now, almost regardless of their terms, is that the bailouts were an essential life-preserving shock to the domestic economy. Unfortunately while this version of events contains some truth, it has diverted us from asking searching questions...
January 18, 2011
All the upbeat talk is of the UK economy being ‘out of the danger zone’. Credit is certainly due to the Chancellor for recognising the serious state of the public finances and setting out a long-term deficit reduction plan. However, the sombre truth is that for so long as Central Banks maintain a virtual zero interest rate policy, UK and European economies will remain on a taxpayer-induced life support machine. ...
January 10, 2011
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
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
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
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 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 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
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
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...