The unpaid bill behind our sofas

Halfway through her second glass of champagne on Monday night, my wife sheepishly suggested that perhaps we should hold our own emergency Budget. If George Osborne feels obliged to pronounce gloom and make swingeing cuts, shouldn’t we do our bit too? She took a guilty-looking sip.

I admonished her not to feel the weight of the champagne on her conscience, partly because it was our anniversary, but mostly because, in buying champagne and tipping the Polish waiter, we were selflessly doing our bit to stimulate the economies of our fellow Europeans.

That said, the idea of a household Budget is intriguing. I have recently taken to dividing Budget numbers by 60m, roughly per capita, or by 25m, roughly the number of households in the UK. The effect is bracing: Britain is borrowing £6,000 per household this year. This is, to use a technical macroeconomic term, a fair whack.

Continued at ft.com

Tim Harford’s blog

This blog is no longer updated but it remains open as an archive.

Tim, also known as the Undercover Economist, writes about the economics of everyday life.