Daily Archives: April 9, 2008

Gordon Brown is losing friends among gamblers.

Punters on Betfair, an online betting exchange that works like a stock market, now think there is just a 23 per cent chance of him winning  a majority at the next election. 

Jim Pickard

All three parties are playing down their prospects at the May 1 local elections. Even the Tories, who seem most likely to come out with more council seats.

But Labour and the Conservatives are both claiming to be fielding more candidates – according to press releases that came out this afternoon. 

Jim Pickard

It seems odd given what has happened since.

But a bill* published last year gave new powers to building societies to borrow more from the wholesale markets. That is, the ones which enabled Northern Rock to grow like topsy and then implode. The bill has increased the maximum wholesale borrowing level from 50 per cent to 75 per cent.   

This will not please our elected representatives.

John Ralfe, the former head of corporate finance at Boots and an indefatigable apostle for the cause of trimming MPs’ “outrageous” pensions, has just  launched his latest assault. 

There has been a lot of fuzzy language used to describe those that will be punished by Gordon Brown’s 2007 Budget. News reports have suggested it will hit “low-paid workers” — Labour’s core vote. The implication has been that “middle-England” swing voters will benefit or go unscathed.

The full picture is more complicated. More than a third of middle income households will be worse off, according to this excellent Joseph Rowntree Foundation report on an unrelated subject. Holly Sutherland led a team that calculated the impact of the 2007 Budget. Her analysis largely tallied with the IFS (who own the only other non-governmental model to do this kind of analysis) but she chose a slightly different way of presenting some of the information (see the chart below).