Opinion

COMMENT

IT IS not entirely unwelcome that the energy industry has been referred to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) by Ofgem. It may lance a festering boil; it may do some good.
THE 1960s was a decade of explosive change, but the most important revolution wasn’t sexual: it was green. While Western intellectuals looked the other way, lost to well-meaning doom-mongering, one visionary saved a billion lives.
AS COMMENTATORS digest the liberal reforms to pensions announced in the Budget last week, questions are starting to arise about just how the proposals will be implemented.
No green jobs [Re: The green myth: Why renewables destroy jobs, yesterday]
HERE IS a very easy economic forecast. Public debt will be the number one economic issue on the planet over the coming decades.
A FASTER growing economy is key to improving living standards. This very simple claim rests on a more complex point – how closely linked are wages, productivity and economic output?
LONDON will start grinding to a halt if Crossrail 2 – the proposed new north-south rail line for the capital – isn’t built by 2030.
Personal liberty [Re: Pension reforms mark a welcome move towards individual liberty, yesterday]
WE LIVE in a world riddled with black swan fatigue, and this piece does not propose to add to it. Still, the recent financial crisis and its continuing implications have invited hyperbolic comparisons, most notably with the 1930s.
THE IMPROVEMENT in the economy has seen a narrowing of the gap in the opinion polls between the Conservatives and Labour.
POLITICIANS and activists are celebrating the news that Siemens is prepared to invest £160m in facilities in and around Hull to produce and install offshore wind turbines. It sounds like good news: 1,000 new jobs.
Russia and the City [Re: The UK is not as dependent on Russian money as you think, yesterday]
VLADIMIR Putin is having an easy time of it, precisely because the West is so at sea as to who he is and what he is trying to accomplish.
AS SOON as you walk into a great school, you can feel the buzz. Children are confident, staff are passionate, and high academic achievement and exciting extra-curricular activities sit side by side.
If people are given responsibility, they behave responsibly. So if we give people more political power, I believe that will create a country with a greater sense of social responsibility.” So said David Cameron in 2010.
THE PENSION reforms announced in last week’s Budget represent the biggest shake-up of pensions in living memory. UK pensions are currently the most inflexible in the world, with strict rules on how the pension money can be used in later life.
AS A SMALL island nation, the United Kingdom has a long history of punching above its weight when it comes to trade and commerce across the world.
IT’S TIME to reform our outdated, restrictive Sunday trading laws. With online shopping gaining in popularity by the day, the health of the British high street relies on full flexibility to open on Sundays.
Beer and bingo [Re: No turning back: Four reasons Osborne’s Budget will matter, yesterday]
AS AN old DC hand living in Berlin, I was kindly invited to hear Barack Obama speak there in 2008 by some of my old foreign policy frenemies in the Democratic Party. I was present when candidate Obama’s white-hot global fame reached its apogee.
FAREWELL to the pound coin’s familiar golden nugget design. Here comes the dough-decagon in its stead. The new 12-sided quid, modelled after the old threepenny bit, got plenty of attention this week.
THE chancellor’s pension reform proposals could, if implemented, not only change pensions as we know them, but the way people plan their retirement savings altogether. We aren’t there yet.
Energy market [Re: Blame the regulator, yesterday]
FOUR key things strike me about the 2014 Budget. First, George Osborne stuck to his plan.
WHEN you have no money, and you need to conserve cash for a rabbit out of the hat in the run up to the election, what do you do? The chancellor’s answer: focus the Budget on pension reform and Isas saving incentives.
THIS year may be “as good as it gets” for the growth of the British economy, according to the latest OBR forecasts released in yesterday’s Budget.
Baffling economics [Re: Economics baffles half the population, Monday]
OFGEM, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will shortly issue an assessment of how well competition in the markets for gas and electricity is serving the interests of households and small firms.
CONCERN about inequalities of income and wealth is now a fashionable topic, and featured strongly in the gathering of the world’s top brass at Davos earlier this year.
IT’S THAT time of the year when the chancellor confirms that Air Passenger Duty (APD) is set to rise once again, ensuring that passengers flying from London’s airports will pay the highest departure tax of any country in the world.
No clothes Cameron [Re: Cameron sets out his agenda for EU reform, yesterday]
TOMORROW’S Budget will make it all too clear that, to get Britain’s public finances into a healthier state, further tight control of spending will be necessary.
GETTING inside the thinking of Vladimir Putin is a daunting prospect at the best of times; and these aren’t the best of times. Yet doing so shows why a worst-case outcome just a few days ago suddenly seems entirely plausible.
WITH Budget day upon us tomorrow, we can expect to be told that we are almost half-way through the government’s planned fiscal consolidation. Politicians will talk about how they are eliminating the deficit and getting our debts under control.
AHEAD of the last Budget before the 2015 election, Britain’s political battle lines are being carved out. Voters will be tempted by alternative menus combining less debt, higher spending and lower taxes.
WE ALL want the next Google, Facebook or Twitter to come from London. The same is true for major success stories from other industries.
WHEN One Direction (1D) weighed in on the corporation tax debate, calling on their fans to pressure George Osborne into “cracking down on company tax avoidance”, it was the clearest indication yet that business tax has become a popular issue.

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