Three key economic questions for Boris Johnson

  • 13 December 2019
  • From the section Business
Boris Johnson Image copyright Getty Images

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has won a decisive majority, that will last the full five-year term, on the back of a fairly thin list of detailed economic promises.

But he now has the power to complete the Brexit process, pass budgets, and, if he chooses, start to address long term challenges that require tough up-front decisions.

But the fact that his chancellor can now safely mint the 50p coin for Brexit Day - 31 January - does not detract from some very difficult issues in the economic in-tray.

I've identified three economic issues that the PM will now have to address: the trading relationship with the EU, trade with the US, and keeping his new electorate happy.

1. The trading relationship with the EU

The most fundamental decision for the PM, after the UK legally leaves the European Union next month, is where to land our relationship with our biggest trade partner.

Read full article Three key economic questions for Boris Johnson

UK ports 'preparing to host EU customs checks'

  • 10 December 2019
  • From the section Business
Liverpool docks Image copyright Getty Images

The shipping industry is drawing up plans for EU border checks in Britain for trade bound for Northern Ireland.

The BBC has learned that freight could be diverted through ports with space for inspections such as Liverpool and Stranraer, despite the government denying checks will be necessary.

Read full article UK ports 'preparing to host EU customs checks'

General election 2019: Leaked document raises fresh concerns about GB-NI trade after Brexit

Map showing Irish Sea Image copyright Getty Images

Another leaked government document has revealed concerns about potential goods checks between Northern Ireland and Britain after Brexit.

The paper from the Department for Exiting the EU, seen by the BBC, lists preparing for "high levels" of checks as one of the challenges in delivering the government's Brexit deal.

Read full article General election 2019: Leaked document raises fresh concerns about GB-NI trade after Brexit

Would a 'no deal' Tory government borrow as much as Labour?

  • 2 December 2019
  • From the section Business
Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn Image copyright BBC / Getty

The Labour Party freely admits that its manifesto would lead to a marked increase in government borrowing.

In general it deploys an argument used by all parties, including the Conservatives, that there is a global consensus stretching from the IMF to Brussels and Tokyo to borrow more at currently cheap government borrowing rates in order to invest to increase productivity.

Read full article Would a 'no deal' Tory government borrow as much as Labour?

The big election trade-off - what have we learned?

  • 27 November 2019
  • From the section Business
UK and US flags in front of the Houses of Parliament Image copyright Getty Images

The emergence of these lengthy secret accounts of two years of US-UK trade discussions are important for several reasons.

They are the clearest account of a deal that could be done and dusted in the Parliament that is about to be elected.

Read full article The big election trade-off - what have we learned?

Tory manifesto a 'steady as she goes' document

  • 24 November 2019
  • From the section Business
Boris Johnson Image copyright PA Media

The Conservative Party manifesto contained no rabbits out of the hat, no huge tax cut - but a promise not to raise them - and no big new spending item.

It has been designed as a "steady as she goes" modest effort - the equivalent of a rather low key Budget, with some targeted help.

Read full article Tory manifesto a 'steady as she goes' document

Labour's big-state, big-spend, transformation plan

  • 21 November 2019
  • From the section Business
Jeremy Corbyn Image copyright Getty Images

This is a radical attempt to change Britain's business model, involving not just huge amounts of public spending and investment, but also an attempt to rewire the way the economy works.

Labour's answer to "can we afford this?" is "we can't afford not to" - arguing that only a very active government can reshape the economy to change the fate of the country, in particular to meet the green challenge.

Read full article Labour's big-state, big-spend, transformation plan

Lib Dems are banking on taxation with a purpose

  • 20 November 2019
  • From the section Companies
Jo Swinson Image copyright PA Media

The Liberal Democrats are, on the face of it, planning the most austere attitude to borrowing of all the major parties.

Unlike both the Conservatives and the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats have positioned their aim for the taxes raised annually over and above the day-to-day costs of public services to run a surplus of 1%.

Read full article Lib Dems are banking on taxation with a purpose

Why did the Lib Dems go tough on spending?

  • 20 November 2019
  • From the section Business
sir ed Image copyright Getty Images

The Liberal Democrats are, on the face of it, planning the most austere form of fiscal policy of the major parties.

Unlike both the Conservatives and the Labour Party, they have positioned their aim for the taxes raised annually over and above the day-to-day costs of public services to run a surplus of 1%.

Read full article Why did the Lib Dems go tough on spending?

Why does Labour want to give away free broadband?

  • 15 November 2019
  • From the section Business
Young woman looking at smartphone while using laptop Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Labour Party is pledging to bring broadband internet under the control of Westminster

Whereas Margaret Thatcher recast the privatisations of the 1980s into share giveaways that popularised mass participation capitalism to some voters, this Labour move seeks to do the exact reverse, nearly four decades on.

It is an attempt to turn state ownership into an election-friendly retail policy: free broadband for all.

Read full article Why does Labour want to give away free broadband?