George Osborne

The UK Treasury is, it is reported, considering the sale of parts of its student loan book. This provokes a big question: when should the UK government sell such an asset – given that it is both immortal and solvent?

The best answer has two parts. First, it must be believed that the asset would be better managed by the private sector. And, second, it must be believed that this superior private management can only be introduced by selling the assets – rather than introducing some type of private management contract. Read more

Last week saw some important statements on UK economic policy from the chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne, and the governor of the Bank of England, Sir Mervyn King. I considered the implications for the reform of banking and for the supply of credit and monetary policy in two columns published last week.  I failed to note important implications for fiscal policy. Happily, Jonathan Portes, director of the National Institute for Economic and Social Research did not miss them. Maybe, he noted, we are beginning to see glimmering of light in the policy darkness.

This is what Mr Portes wrote: Read more