Is inflation all down to Brexit?

  • 21 March 2017
  • From the section Business
Theresa May, Prime Minister Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Slowing real income growth could be a challenge for the Prime Minister

It was Harry S Truman who famously pleaded for a one handed economist, so tired was he of proponents of the dismal science saying "well, on the one hand, sir... but on the other..."

Sadly for the 33rd President of the United States, you would need a lot of hands to explain today's surprisingly rapid increase in inflation.

Rising global commodity prices are pushing up inflation pressures around the world.

As global growth strengthens, that upward pressure is likely to increase.

In 2015 and early 2016, we saw a period of deflation - falling prices - in key sectors such as fuel and clothing, so the rise now (in comparison with a year ago) is particularly stark.

Read full article Is inflation all down to Brexit?

Faltering wage growth is becoming May’s headache

  • 15 March 2017
  • From the section Business
Commuters crossing London Bridge Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Wage growth has declined sharply

When Peter Mandelson said the Labour Party was "intensely relaxed" about people becoming filthy rich (as long as they pay their taxes) he was saying something far more fundamental than he maybe realised.

Lord Mandelson made the comments in 1998, an era when income growth was 5.6% and inflation (the consumer prices index) was 1.4%.

Read full article Faltering wage growth is becoming May’s headache

Mark Carney faces questions over Hogg’s resignation

  • 14 March 2017
  • From the section Business
Mark Carney Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Carney believed that a verbal warning for Ms Hogg was sufficient

It is vanishingly rare for the Treasury Select Committee to not, even if sometimes reluctantly, back an appointment by the Bank of England of a deputy governor and a new member of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).

In 2000, it did not recommend the appointment of Christopher Allsopp as an external member of the MPC after what they suggested was a poor performance in front of the committee, but the then Chancellor, Gordon Brown, stood by him.

Read full article Mark Carney faces questions over Hogg’s resignation

Self-employed tax rises go far enough, says May adviser

  • 9 March 2017
  • From the section Business
Uber car Image copyright PA

The man reviewing the new world of work for Number 10 has told the BBC that controversial tax increases for the self-employed go far enough.

Matthew Taylor, a former adviser to Tony Blair, said it was "fair" that self-employed people paid more tax.

Read full article Self-employed tax rises go far enough, says May adviser

There is another big issue with this Budget – the continuing incomes squeeze

  • 9 March 2017
  • From the section Business
Clothes hanging outside a flat Image copyright Getty Images

Theresa May has made supporting the "just about managing" the core of her political project - those who work hard but do not feel better off.

The scale of her task and that of the chancellor is now becoming clear.

Read full article There is another big issue with this Budget – the continuing incomes squeeze

Hammond fires starting gun on great employment tax debate

  • 8 March 2017
  • From the section Business
Deliveroo rider Image copyright Reuters

The growth of the gig economy, self-employment and hyper-flexible working - big issues that the chancellor wants to tackle.

Although the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, suggested to the BBC that the government had gone far enough on raising taxes on the self-employed, any companies that use self-employed workers should start looking down the back of the sofa for some money.

Read full article Hammond fires starting gun on great employment tax debate

Treasury plays Budget Eeyore to the government’s Tiggers

  • 7 March 2017
  • From the section Business
11 Downing Street Image copyright Getty Images

"We haven't had an earthquake lately," was Eeyore's tart response when asked about forecasts that the weather can only improve in the Hundred Acre Wood.

As government colleagues speak boldly of the economic opportunities Brexit might offer and point to the better than expected economic news since the referendum, the Treasury is quietly warning there may still be pain ahead.

Read full article Treasury plays Budget Eeyore to the government’s Tiggers

Zero hours contracts reach record levels

  • 3 March 2017
  • From the section Business
Warehouse Image copyright Getty Images

The number of people on controversial zero hours contracts has reached a record high of 910,000.

New figures based on an analysis of Office for National Statistics data reveal that 105,000 more people were on contracts that do not guarantee work in 2016 compared with the same period in 2015.

Read full article Zero hours contracts reach record levels

India says UK free trade deal will take years

  • 27 February 2017
  • From the section Business
India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley arrives in Parliament House to present the "Union Budget" in New Delhi on February 1, 2017. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Arun Jaitley, India's finance minister

India's finance minister has said that a free trade deal with Britain will take a "long time" and that no negotiations will start until the Brexit process has been completed.

On a visit to the UK today to meet the chancellor and the foreign secretary to discuss trade, Arun Jaitley said there was "great enthusiasm" for a deal.

Read full article India says UK free trade deal will take years