Contribution to FT’s annual UK economic survey

Phil was one of almost 100 economists and analysts asked to submit their answers to three questions about the outlook for the UK economy in 2022. The questions and (edited) answers were:

1. Will the UK economy outpace or lag behind other developed economies in 2022 and why? “Lag behind. In 2022 (as in 2020) economic performance will be driven by the response to the next evolutions of the coronavirus pandemic and by the endogenous state of the economy. At the turn of the year, the reaction function appears damaged with politicians contradicting scientists and politicians with the ruling party disagreeing with others, quite fundamentally. .”

2.To what extent will the Bank of England be in control of inflation by the end of 2022? ” In control. Inflation will peak in the spring following the restoration of the VAT rate for the hospitality sector and another big rise in the energy price cap.”

3.  To what extent will the UK look like a high wage, high productivity economy at the end of 2022 — and will people feel better or worse off than they do now? ” People will feel worse off, certainly by the middle of the year as inflation continues to rise, energy prices rise, and incomes flatline amid little evidence of pay rises responding to higher prices. The second half may see an improvement and the data for living standards may be better year-on-year in Dec 2022 but it is unclear whether consumers will actually register that. .”

The full responses are here.

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Marking the 50th birthday of the CBI

We were asked to contribute to the production of a book marking the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the CBI (or the Confederation of British Industry as it was in 1965).

We researched and wrote around 20 articles looking at how Britain has changed over the last five decades in a number of key areas that are close to the work of the CBI. These included:

  • the big picture of macroeconomics and the business environment
  • a focus on key sectors such as banking, energy and manufacturing
  • changes in employment and demographics
  • the role of British rapidly in a rapidly changing global environment
  • Britain’s relationship with Europe.

In all these articles we drew on research material from the CBI, interviews and the writer’s own knowledge and experience of covering the CBI as a journalist.

The report can be found here, a page-turner version is here, and a PDF version is here.

Contributing to FT’s 2015 UK economics poll

We were asked by the Financial Times to provide out answers to a number of key questions facing the UK economy in 2015. As in the past few years the FT was looking for subjective opinions and views rather than point forecasts.

The overarching article, which featured a poll of several leading economists and financial analysts, found that most expected the UK recovery to strengthen this year. Of 90 economists surveyed, 77 thought that decent expansion rates would endure another year with only 10 expecting a slowdown to a “disappointing pace of growth”.

Our comments on the main issues on economic growth can be found at the bottom of the article.

What would devolution mean for UK cities and regions?

The business magazine, Financial Director, asked us to look at the implications for local businesses and economies if politicians actually follow up on their promises to devolve more powers to the countries, regions and cities of the UK in the wake of the Scottish referendum vote.

We spoke to a range of people including Jim O’Neill, who carried out a review for the RSA, Paul Swinney at the Centre for Cities, Steve Gilroy at the small business consultancy Vistage, Noel Tagoe at CIMA, James Nicholson-Smith at TheFDCentre and individual finance directors.

The overall feeling was that this had the potential to deliver major benefits to smaller regional economic areas as long as the process of devolution was well organised and carried out with key objectives in mind. This is likely to be  a major area for debate whichever party/ies wins the next General Election.

The article is here (split over three pages).