January 23, 2009
The UK economy is now officially in recession after the release of growth figures this morning which show a 1.5% decline in GDP in the last quarter. This follows a drop in GDP in the previous quarter of 0.6% which means the official definition of two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth has been met.
The 1.5% fall is the largest since 1980 and shows what a perilous state the economy is now in. Gordon Brown refuses to accept that he has put an end to boom and bust but these figures make him look even more foolish when he continues to make claims that this recession is different to previous ones and that he is not to blame. The public won’t buy these feeble excuses. He was very keen to take credit for the ‘unprecedented growth’ as he put it of the UK economy during the first ten years of a Labour Government but is even keener to distance himself from the negative growth in the UK economy. When thousands of people are losing their jobs and their homes each week, it’s embarassing for the PM of this country to give interviews to the press and media and blame the United States and anyone else he can think of at the time and completely try and absolve himself of any blame for the current economic crisis. He should have the decency to be a little honest – but I suppose if he could he wouldn’t be Gordon Brown.
Just to make matters worse, the pound is trading at $1.35 this morning which is the lowest its been for about 25 years.
January 14, 2009
7000 job losses have been announced this week but Business minister Baroness Vadera can quite incredibly see ‘a few green shoots’ of economic recovery. You have to wonder what planet some of these ministers are living on and whether they have any contact with the real world.
January 14, 2009
Despite billions of pounds having been pumped into the health and education systems during the past 12 years by the Labour Government, the quality of service in both areas remains unsatisfactory. Two stories which show the wastefulness of the Labour era have been highlighted this week. The first is the failure of 340 000 children to attain 5 GCSE grades A-C including English and maths with one in seven schools, a total of 440 failing to ensure that at least 30% of their pupils got five A*-C GCSEs. The education education education mantra has been assigned to the dustbin as far too many children continue to receive an inadequate education.
The second is the news that Britain has fewer hospital beds per head of population than almost any other European country, with half as many as Lithuania and Hungary. This is a terrible indictment on Labour’s wasteful spending. Most people didn’t need to see official statistics to know that hospitals are always short of beds – their personal experience will have confirmed this. But it is a deeply worrying and depressing statistic that shows how reckless this Government has been in dealing with the health service.
Value for money isn’t something this Government has understood. It has spent like an addict without ensuring the appropriate increases in the delivery of services. Bureaucracy has been bloated and we are now left with so much Government debt that it will take this and the next generation to pay it off without having the high quality services that the borrowed money should have delivered.
January 14, 2009
Today’s announcement by the Government of the £20bn loan guarantee to small and medium-sized firms to help them deal with the recession is a watered down rip of Tory Policy announced by David Cameron a few weeks ago. This follows fast on the heels of the Tory policy to subsidise employers to take on people who have been out of work being adopted by the Government a few days ago.
Admittedly the Conservatives are calling for loan guarantees of £50bn but its very odd that the the Government accuses the Conservatives of being the ‘do nothing party’ (repeated again at PMQ’s by Brown today) when facing the most serious economic downturn this country has seen for decades yet is prepared to steal adopt policies put forward by the Conservatives.
If Gordon Brown and his team are unable to come up with ideas and policies of their own and are simply going to adopt everything the Conservatives propose – obviously after criticising them first, why don’t they just ask the Tories to take over and do everything to deal with the recession?
January 8, 2009
Interest rates have been cut to 1.5% by the Bank of England, the lowest rates have been for 300 hundred years and an indication of the dire position of the UK economy.
Previous rate cuts haven’t been passed in full onto mortgage customers by Banks and they are unlikely to pass this cut on either. And neither have rate cuts encouraged Banks to lend confidently to individuals and businesses. The bigger concern with the rate cut is that savers who have been prudent will see their interest earnings reduce further which doesn’t encourage people to save and manage their finances sensibly. For this reason, David Cameron’s announcements on tax relief for savers a few days ago is very welcome.
January 5, 2009
The conflict in Gaza and the continuing deterioration of the UK economy have been making all the headlines during the holiday period. More on both later after I have caught up on work related matters.