Opinion

COMMENT

ED MILIBAND is getting serious about shedding his Red Ed image. In an article in the Daily Telegraph, the Labour leader tried to rebrand himself as a champion of the aspirational middle classes. This shouldn’t be ignored.
Scottish debt [Re: Has the Treasury hurt the Union by backing UK debt until Scotland’s vote? Yesterday]
FOR MOST of the past century, UK economic growth has depended primarily on consumer spending and housing. Indeed, the current recovery is heavily driven by these two factors – even though the shape of this revival is gradually changing.
POLITICIANS of all parties, including Treasury minister Sajid Javid, have stated that there’s a strong case for a significant increase in the minimum wage.
TO SUPPORT the development of its huge shale potential, Britain desperately needs the backing of investors, local communities, and local government.
Cheap money [Re: Raise interest rates gradually or risk a much sharper swing of the pendulum, Friday]
EACH year, we release our Top Risks report, where we consider the ten biggest geopolitical threats to markets and economies, judged by probability and potential impact. What’s at the top of our list for 2014?
EAGLE-EYED City workers may have already spotted this, but there are some slightly unusual adverts on the side of their buses this year.
THE EU has long claimed a reputation as a promoter of free trade – for breaking down boundaries, and allowing capital and goods to flow across borders without hindrance. But protectionism hasn’t disappeared; it’s just taken on a more subtle form.
FOR A given level of inflation, an economy has an “equilibrium” real interest rate.
HERE’S a new year’s resolution for business: learn to speak human. The state of business language as a whole remains an abiding scandal.
DO YOU think the NHS will be a significant factor at the next general election?” asked a BBC reporter last year, as we stood chatting. Never mind recent structural reforms, purely on the basis of our ageing population, it has to be.
Pensions [Re: Our pension system is broken. We must tear it up and start again, yesterday]
TURKEY’S often-fickle political system may not make its current domestic turmoil seem particularly important. But the country’s troubles hold lessons for the likely success – or failure – of other emerging markets in 2014 and beyond.
ALMOST a year ago to the day, the chancellor predicted 2013 would be the year banking was reset. Entering 2014, it is worth remembering that pressing the reset button is only the start.
IT IS widely rumoured that the government is moving towards a commitment to increase the national minimum wage (NMW) well above levels suggested by the – usually fairly sensible – Low Pay Commission.
Buy British [Re: Is the environment secretary right that UK consumers should buy more British food?, yesterday]
IT’S HARD to think of a better parable about the effects of technology than Samsung’s embarrassing product launch at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on Monday.
THE COMING year looks like it will be a good one. At the start of each of the past five years, the economic scales have been tilted downwards, and the challenge has been to look for factors which might have tipped them back up.
WITH the demise of salary-related pensions, we now face the challenge of ensuring people get the most out of the alternative defined contribution system, where their pensions are heavily dependent on how much they have saved during their working l
France failing [Re: France’s failed socialist experiment is turning into a tragedy, yesterday]
SOMETIMES a crisis doesn’t seem like a crisis because it is the status quo and people just take it for granted. For London, a case in point is the Thames Chasm – the acute shortage of road crossings of the River Thames east of Tower Bridge.
GEORGE Osborne has been quick to define 2014’s political agenda.
WE HAVE little detail of pensions minister Steve Webb’s proposals to allow pensioners to switch between annuity providers in the same way that they can switch between mortgages.
Space travel [Re: Which technological development will see the most game-changing advances in 2014?, yesterday]
I HAVE long strongly advocated a modest proposal for my clients regarding global political risk: judge analysts as you would a plumber. If we do a good job, rehire us. If not, show us the door.
GLOBAL growth picked up in 2013, ending the year at a solid pace. This strength should carry over into early 2014, but momentum is likely to wane.
WE ARE in a state of unusually high political uncertainty. By this stage in the electoral cycle, one usually has a sense of who the next winner is likely to be. But this time we have a high level of unpredictability.
SINCE the 1970s, years ending with a 4 have seen turning points in the global economy and had a particular significance for central bankers.
AFTER a surprisingly strong 2013 in many equity markets, I am cautiously optimistic for 2014. One of the key reasons for my slight wariness is that most of the predictions I am reading at the moment are unambiguously positive.
1. Between spring and autumn 2013, which of these countries received the largest upgrade to its 2013 GDP growth forecast from the IMF? a. Indiab. United Statesc. United Kingdom
Ian Stewart, Deloitte’s chief economist, poses the trickiest economics questions of the year
IT’S A SHAME all the shopping has to spoil the true meaning of Christmas.
CHRISTMAS has become a magnet for miserabilists.
Cashless society [Re: With plastic banknotes set to arrive in 2016, will cash soon disappear entirely anyway?, yesterday]
WHATEVER the chances of a last-minute Christmas shopping spree, the retail climate remains difficult.
FEW would find it hard to spot the difference between Stoke Newington and Salford. It’s certainly more than 200 miles that divides the North London district and the regenerating Manchester borough, now home to the BBC’s MediaCityUK.
THIS week, the Institute for Fiscal Studies told people born in the 1960s and 1970s that they will be worse off than their parents when they retire. This was mainly down to falls in income due to the financial crash, and lower savings rates.

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