Monthly Archives: March 2009

Jim Pickard

We predicted in October that the government could suffer an uncovered gilt auction within months because it was trying to raise such a vast amount of money from the bond markets.

From Bloomberg a few minutes ago: Read more

Jim Pickard

What exactly was George Osborne thinking when he condemned Lord Myners for his past involvement in tax havens? Read more

Jim Pickard

Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the European Central Bank, warned on Monday that governments should stop concocting new stimulus measures and just get on with the ones they’ve already announced. Read more

Jim Pickard

You may not have noticed, but bank shares have more than doubled from their recent lows as sentiment warms – temporarily or otherwise – to the sector in the wake of government rescue plans on both sides of the Atlantic.

This has repercussions, not least for Lloyds; which is already 43 per cent owned by taxpayers. To participate in the British government’s insurance scheme that figure could rise to 63 per cent (or higher in economic terms). Read more

Jim Pickard

David Cameron has pleased the right wing of his party by pledging to pull out of the EPP, the alliance of centre-right parties in Europe. He believes that umbrella group is too wedded to greater European integration. Read more

Jim Pickard

When it comes to MP expenses, this blog has always tried to keep a sense of perspective. Members get certain allowances and we should not be surprised that they use them. Read more

Jim Pickard

Nick Brown made for an entertaining guest at the regular lobby correspondents’ lunch today. The chief whip is a surprisingly good raconteur.

But he also made a robust attack on some of his own MPs, accusing some of them of “idleness”. Read more

Jim Pickard

Sir Michael Pitt, the man who wrote an official report into the government’s flood response in 2007, was last week named as new chairman of the Infrastructure Planning Commission.

The body will be very powerful (presuming it survives a general election in 2010) given it can push through big projects like nuclear power stations or wind farms, over-riding local councils. Read more

Jim Pickard

The Times carried the front page story today that Cherie Blair has been hired by two local authority funds (North Yorkshire and Merseyside) to seek compensation from the fall in the RBS share price. Read more

Jim Pickard

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Jim Pickard

Amid the ongoing saga about will-he-won’t-he apologise it’s easy to forget what exactly Gordon Brown has been blamed for.

Here is a reminder: despite numerous warning signs, the government failed to address the housing bubble, easy credit or the irresponsible growth of incomprehensible products in capital markets. Read more

Jim Pickard

Last autumn we were reminded again and again that the economic picture wasn’t totally bleak – because there were still plenty of job vacancies. The figure of 600,000 was touted in the Commons on several occasions in October – including Prime Minister’s Questions.

How come ministers are no longer using this argument? Figures from the ONS show that in January there were only 420,000 vacancies left. Since then the number is likely to have shrivelled further.