Credit Crunch

Jim Pickard

So many numbers are flying around that you might not have spotted today’s real news on RBS. Read more

Jim Pickard

Okay, it’s not the same Fred Goodwin. This one works as an analyst at Nomura, apparently.

But the Tories have seized upon Goodwin’s report which suggests “the prospect of a UK fiscal crisis is a clear and present danger”. The report suggests that a fiscal crisis is “far more likely” in the UK than in the US – because the dollar is a reserve currency. Read more

Jim Pickard

He finally said it. There will be cuts. But Gordon Brown waited until he was nearly half an hour into his speech to admit it. (Bottom of page 7 out of 8).

And he wedged the stuff about deficit, hard choices, sustainable finances, cutting costs into a handful of paragraphs. The rest of the speech was the usual glorious talk about saving the global economy, the national economy and the range of initiatives which Labour has thrown out in the last year. And – to be fair – there were two genuinely big policy pledges. Read more

Jim Pickard

Expectations are for a Gordon Brown “recovery” speech on Tuesday when he faces the TUC Conference in Liverpool.

For all the (slightly) better economic/financial data out there, there is still an obvious dichotomy that Britain faces. Do you define the downturn by GDP figures (the formal definition of recession beging two quarters of contraction) or on unemployment figures? Read more

Jim Pickard

A brief passage in George Osborne’s last Andrew Marr interview stands out: In it, the shadow chancellor heaps praise at the feet of the world’s central banks for preventing financial meltdown.

“But we say the most effective form of stimulus is monetary policy, is the low interest rates, which both here and around the world I think have been the most effective tool at bringing the world back from the brink of depression.” Read more

Gordon Brown has pledged tough action to clamp down on excessive remuneration for bankers as part of an international effort to rectify the systemic weakness that led to the global financial crisis. Read the interview on ft.com

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. Read more

Jim Pickard

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

Jim Pickard

I haven’t had a chance to number-crunch today’s unemployment figures yet. But there was an interesting chart in the Audit Commission report – also out today – on how councils are faring in the recession. Read more

Jim Pickard

Lord Myners gives short thrift today to Tory plans to kneecap the Financial Services Authority and transfer many of its powers to the Bank of England. Read more

Jim Pickard

Attempts to clean up the financial system have become more urgent given reports of the banking world returning to normal. Read more

Jim Pickard

It is a difficult circle to square: Read more