UK explores multi-billion pound free trade deal with China

  • 24 July 2016
  • From the section Business
Philip Hammond Image copyright Getty Images

Philip Hammond has begun discussions with China on an ambitious free trade deal which could see greater access for major Chinese banks and businesses to the UK economy.

The chancellor told me that despite a short term economic shock to the economy of Britain leaving the European Union, it was now time to explore "new opportunities" across the world.

"What we now need to do is get on with it in a way that minimises the economic impact on the UK economy in the short term and maximises the benefit in the long term," Mr Hammond said, admitting that there had been "global disappointment" about the Brexit vote.

Chinese state media reported earlier in the month that the Chinese Ministry of Commerce wants to do a UK free trade deal.

Mr Hammond has now revealed that Britain is also keen.

More opportunity?

Read full article UK explores multi-billion pound free trade deal with China

Could Hammond change the UK's fiscal direction?

  • 22 July 2016
  • From the section Business
Philip Hammond Image copyright EPA

Well, that was a surprise.

Among the warm words on Sino-British relations (the UK still wants to be a major investment partner with China) the new chancellor of the exchequer dropped a small grenade.

Read full article Could Hammond change the UK's fiscal direction?

Brexit is not the only economic story in town

  • 19 July 2016
  • From the section Business
EU and UK flags on beach Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Beyond Brexit - looking to the horizon

Sometimes you need to look at the horizon to understand what is going on at your feet.

The Brexit debate can often appear a little parochial - a "looking at your feet" discussion about the UK economy, which seems to take little notice of the wider global economic context in which Britain sits.

Read full article Brexit is not the only economic story in town

Osborne comes out of the shadows

  • 18 July 2016
  • From the section Business
George Osborne Image copyright PA

George Osborne's Margaret Thatcher Lecture on Monday night is his most substantial attempt since he lost his job at laying out the political philosophy that guided his time as Chancellor.

And there are a number of big messages at its heart.

Read full article Osborne comes out of the shadows

Interest rates on hold - for now

  • 14 July 2016
  • From the section Business
Bank of England Image copyright AFP

So, the interest rate cut is off, for now.

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has decided - significantly by a 8-1 majority rather than unanimously - that a little bit of patience is necessary to see how the economy performs over the next few weeks.

Read full article Interest rates on hold - for now

Mark Carney urged to cut interest rates to 0%

  • 14 July 2016
  • From the section Business
Bank of England Image copyright Getty Images

It was initially described as an emergency measure, seven long years ago when UK interest rates were cut to 0.5%, a record low.

That was before the brutal significance of the financial crisis of 2008 had really sunk in.

Read full article Mark Carney urged to cut interest rates to 0%

Philip Hammond: A new broom at the Treasury

  • 13 July 2016
  • From the section Business
Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond Image copyright EPA

Speaking to a senior figure in the banking world this morning, he had nothing but praise for Philip Hammond, the new Chancellor of the Exchequer.

He told me when Mr Hammond was shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, the MP for Runnymede and Weybridge did "a lot of the heavy lifting" when it came to working out the Conservative plan for tackling the UK's economic challenges.

Read full article Philip Hammond: A new broom at the Treasury

Theresa May’s economic medicine

  • 11 July 2016
  • From the section Business
Theresa May Image copyright Getty Images

In her speech this morning - which has now taken on far more weight given that she is just about ready to measure the curtains for Number 10 - Theresa May laid out a set of policies that bring together two strands of thinking and two personalities who would not have been overly comfortable in each other's company - Ed Miliband and Margaret Thatcher.

The speech built on her article in The Times on Monday and is important for a number of reasons - not least its attempt to marry a general and widespread disillusion among the public that the economy "is not working for them" with a sense that the Conservative Party's driving philosophy is about more than free markets.

Read full article Theresa May’s economic medicine

Mark Carney hits the reassurance button

Mark Carney Image copyright AFP
Image caption Bank governor Mark Carney has sought to calm market jitters since the referendum

At the last Inflation Report, published in May, you could hunt high and low with little success for the word "positive" when it came to the Bank of England's analysis of the possible fallout from any vote to leave the European Union.

Mark Carney, the Bank's governor, averred there could be a "technical recession" - that is six months of economic contraction with all that could mean for job losses and real incomes.

Read full article Mark Carney hits the reassurance button

Brexit and the easing of austerity

George Osborne Image copyright Getty Images

It is sometimes easy in these incredible political times to forget that for most people "it's the economy, stupid" still holds true.

For the UK economy, one of the most important passages of Theresa May's speech yesterday was when she signalled that George Osborne's "fiscal rule" (to produce a budget surplus by 2020) was for the Treasury shredding machine.

Read full article Brexit and the easing of austerity