Opinion

COMMENT

COINCIDING with a celebrity-laden advertising campaign to boost awareness, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) marked its thirteenth birthday this week.
Azad Zangana, European economist at Schroders, says Yes. The 2015 outlook for the Eurozone is precarious. Governments are continuing with austerity, while business surveys suggest a downturn is on the horizon.
George Osborne is the consummate tactician. With 153 days to go to the election, there’s only one thing on his mind, and that’s how to breeze past opposition parties on the journey back to Downing Street. And who can blame him?
I said that I would eliminate the budget deficit in this Parliament. I have failed to do so. It’s actually going to take me about 10 years rather than five.
The chancellor issued his election manifesto yesterday, in the form of the Autumn Statement. And the good news for him is that the economic narrative is strong.
DESPITE higher short-term borrowing, the chancellor presented an Autumn Statement in which the deficit is back on track over the medium term and a surplus is achieved by the end of the next Parliament.
Rory Meakin, research fellow at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, says Yes. Finally! Yesterday, the chancellor at last ditched the awful “slab” rate structure for stamp duty on homes.
THE LATEST YouGov / Cebr Consumer Confidence Index figures have rallied slightly, but there are warning signs ahead for the economy in the next few months.
George Osborne has made his name with a commitment to fiscal prudence, backed up by tough cuts to public services.
THE RIOTS in Ferguson, Missouri continue to dominate headlines around the world. Even the brutal dictatorship of North Korea has got in on the act, accusing the United States of being a “human rights tundra”.
I FIRST joined Gordon Brown, who has just announced he is standing down as an MP at the next election, back in 1989.
Ben Cohen, an insurance analyst at Canaccord Genuity, says Yes.
I CAN imagine ministers’ horror when they read front-page stories earlier this autumn that the UK could suffer blackouts this winter.
ONE HUNDRED and fifty five. That’s the really significant number for those following tomorrow’s Autumn Statement. It’s nothing to do with how much the UK government is borrowing. In fact, it’s the number of days until the general election.
THIS has been a momentous year for UK-China relations and the development of London as a key centre for trading in the Chinese currency, the renminbi (RMB), outside China.
Vince Cable, secretary of state for business, innovation, and skills, says Yes.
“Paranoia is knowing all the facts.” – Woody Allen
In my first official engagement as lord mayor outside the M25, visits to Liverpool and Manchester were ideal places to kick-start my programme for the year.
Today is Cyber Monday, the busiest online shopping day in the retail calendar, as consumers continue to cash in on Black Friday discounts and get their Christmas orders in.
Alisdair McIntosh is director of Business for New Europe, says Yes.
This week, one American seas­onal tradition is on everyone’s lips: Black Friday. Today is the day when US retailers kick off the pre-Christmas rush with a slew of discounts, and their finances are said to move back into the black as a result.
THE AGREED conclusion of the Smith Commission into further devolution for Scotland is excellent news – real power to tax and spend, including responsibility over income tax rates and bands, is now set to be wielded by the Scottish Parliament.
HOW CAN HMRC be expected to administer Britain’s chaotic tax system if politicians keep passing so much legislation?
BRITAIN has long regarded itself as having a certain entrepreneurial flair that sets it apart from its continental cousins. And now it’s official.
Philip Booth, professor of insurance and risk management at Cass, and editorial and programme director at the Institute of Economic Affairs, says Yes.
Aviva’s New Zealand-born chief executive Mark Wilson comes from a family of insurance people and has been an in­vestor in insurance companies since he was 15.
DEPUTY prime minister Nick Clegg has finally joined what shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has described as an “arms race of rhetoric” on immigration, backing proposals to curb benefits to European Union migrants.
MANY of my recent articles – on elderly care provision, student finance, and housing in particular – have focused on these problems from the point of view of public policy.
EMILY Thornberry has had a wretched week.
Alex Edmans, a finance professor at London Business School and Wharton, says Yes. Compared to the pay of ordinary workers, £25m is an astronomical figure. But the correct benchmark is the value Helge Lund may create.
John Lewis’ Monty the Penguin Christmas advert was released earlier this month amid a great deal of hype, making the £7m campaign a festive tradition in its own right.
EVERYONE seems to be talking about the “sharing economy”, and while this may not be a model that will work for every industry, it is a trend that requires attention.
TRISTRAM Hunt, the Labour shadow education secretary, argued yesterday that independent schools need to be doing much more to form meaningful partnerships with state schools.
IF THE conventional wisdom of the mainstream press could sum up the current state of the Iranian nuclear talks in one headline, it would absurdly read “Optimism as talks fail to end”.
James Sproule, chief economist at the Institute of Directors, says Yes.
WHEN the EU agreed to place new names on its Russian sanctions list last week, it added to an ever-expanding and ever vaguer body of international rules for compliance officials to navigate.
FALL-OUT from the Autumn Statement next week is likely to focus heavily on the slowdown in deficit reduction.
AS NORTHERN Rock began to crumble in the autumn of 2007, then chancellor Alistair Darling stepped in to stave off a bank run by guaranteeing all existing deposits. To some extent, it worked: queues outside Northern Rock branches soon dissipated.
Kester Mann, principal operators analyst at CCS Insight, says Yes.
Panmure Gordon, the indepen­dent stockbroking firm, made a name for itself last year when one of its analysts calculated the government was planning to sell the Royal Mail at £1bn less than what the firm thought it was worth.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan is halfway there.
Labour and the Conservatives have just gone another 12 rounds with Ukip, and lost. The inexorable rise of Ukip and the Rochester by-election result last week have their origins in strategic calculations made by parties in the 1990s.
The question of how to talk about immigration is one of the most convoluted of our time, despite the pivotal role migrants play in our economy.
David Kern is chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce, says Yes.
WHAM! Pow! There’s been a comic book intensity to the battle of business this week, with transport app Uber drawn as the villain after unscripted swings at journalists it felt had the disruptive tech firm in their sights.
WE NEED to have a serious talk. The topic may be painful. Being faced with the warts of a much-loved figure often is.
YESTERDAY, the UK announced a contribution of about £720m to the Green Climate Fund, a UN initiative designed to help poor countries cope with climate change.
NIILO Jaaskinen, advocate general at the European Court of Justice (ECJ), recommended yesterday that the court should reject the UK’s challenge to the EU’s cap on bankers’ bonuses, which restricts bonuses to 100 per cent of a banker’s pay (or 200
Paul Thomalla, senior vice-president and managing director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at ACI Worldwide, says Yes.
WHEN the clowns start talking politics, alarm bells should be ringing not just about the state of our democracy but also the prospects for our economy.

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