Daily Archives: April 7, 2009

Jim Pickard

The Conservatives’ reluctance to ditch their plans on inheritance tax – lifting the threshold to £1m – is curious. It suggests an inability to react nimbly to the downturn; fiscal policies which aid the rich look inappropriate when unemployment is soaring. Ken Clarke’s recent confusion over whether the policy would still be implemented in a first term looked amateurish at best. 

One clear success from the G20: millions more people have heard of special drawing rights. There are now $250bn worth of them but, understandably, there remains some confusion about what on earth they are.

A colleague on the Lex team aptly described SDRs as the IMF’s “funny money”. 

Some MPs want to solve the expenses mess by moving to a per diem allowance. But if what happens in Brussels is any guide, this is a lousy way to clean up politics.

Some of you may have already seen this report by Hans-Peter Martin, a journalist turned MEP, who filmed his colleagues claiming “attendance allowances” at 7am, before rushing off to the airport for their long weekend. (He did not make himself popular.) I particularly enjoyed the shot with all the wheely-bags parked outside the office where the MEPs “sign on”.