Opinion

COMMENT

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IT’S TIME to reform our outdated, restrictive Sunday trading laws.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.
Splitting debts [Re: The big independence lie: Scotland could keep the pound, Wednesday]
IF I wanted to come home with a 60 inch plasma TV tomorrow, I might try to persuade Mrs Knox that it was an “investment”.
SEVENTEEN years ago this week, a stake-wielding schoolgirl redefined the possibilities of popular entertainment.
THE UK represents just 0.9 per cent of the world’s population, but accounts for 3.2 per cent of its scientific expenditure, 4.1 per cent of its researchers, and 15.9 per cent of its most highly-cited articles.
Made in Britain [Re: British manufacturing’s long decline could be about to end, yesterday]
ED MILIBAND’S speech yesterday was a welcome intervention in the EU debate. But it didn’t go nearly far enough to address the deep-rooted concerns British businesses have with the EU.

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