Monthly Archives: August 2009

From the FT’s Arena blog:

Lord Turner, chairman of the UK’s Financial Services Authority, casts a sceptical light on the role of the City of London in the UK economy in an interview with Prospect Magazine. During the last boom, the financial sector grew as a share of gross domestic product, and ballooned as a share of profits and taxes. Should the government have as a goal to protect the City as a pre-eminent financial centre? Or has the City grown too big for Britain’s good? Lord Turner says the City watchdog should be “very, very wary of seeing the competitiveness of London as a major aim”.  Which British industries – if any – have the potential to replace the City? Does the UK have any choice other than to nourish the financial services industry? Join the debate: click on comment

Jim Pickard

The Times has splashed this morning on criticism of the government over its imminent alteration to the housing benefit system (which was in the April Budget) which will save £140m a year.*

Frank Field and others are protesting about the change which will mean that people will no longer be able to keep any surplus housing benefit over and above the cost of their rent. 

Jim Pickard

Irwin Stelzer in the Telegraph

Philip Stephens in the FT 

Jim Pickard

That was a teaser headline.

I’ve just listened to the shadow welfare secretary for the best part of an hour and I still haven’t a clue what would change under a Tory government vis a vis the benefits system. 

Jim Pickard

The man Dan Hannan seems to have put his foot in it again – or has he? 

Jim Pickard

It seems like great news for anyone wanting to get around Britain more swiftly: Network Rail has outlined its plans for a high-speed rail link from London to Scotland. The case for such a scheme is powerful; rail capacity is close to bursting and Britain has been left trailing by other countries such as France and China. Here is the news story on the BBC

Jim Pickard

From my Notebook column in this morning’s FT:

It is 2012. A press conference in Stratford, east London 

Jim Pickard

Amid the debate about whether Gordon Brown should comment on the release of the Lockerbie bomber, here are a few other things which he has commented in the last year:

“I was deeply saddened to hear the news of Jade Goody’s death…she will be remembered fondly by all who knew her” (March 22

Jim Pickard

Richard Dannatt’s £1.49 bottles of wine: how the head of the Armed Forces put MPs to shame

Mandarins criticise New Labour government 

Jim Pickard

It’s not every day that I’m accused of “incompetent journalism in its most insidious form” by a (more) famous author*. 

Jim Pickard

I got up super-early this morning – well, 6.30am – to attend a debate between David Cameron and Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan, at the RSA.

Taleb was full of fascinating intellectual ideas but none seemed particularly relevant to UK politics or the big issues (probably) facing Cameron next year. 

Jim Pickard

Here is my exclusive from this morning’s FT. It’s pretty self-explanatory.