Budget

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Very Fast Sushi Train Will Deliver Salmon Roll From Melbourne To Sydney In Under Three Hours

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 31/03/2022 - 7:45am in

Train

The government has commissioned a feasibility study to look into the construction of a Very Fast Sushi Train down the eastern seaboard, raising hopes that sushi aficionados in Brisbane will be able to sample a frilled scallop nigiri that has been prepared less than five hours earlier in a Melbourne kitchen.

“A whole new line would have to be constructed at a cost of $15 billion as sushi trains in Victoria run on a different gauge to those in New South Wales,” said chief engineer Brenda Hosomaki. “The biggest technological challenge is figuring out how to stop centripetal forces from wrenching the teriyaki chicken off the top of those little oblongs of sticky rice when the train is taking a curve at over 450 kilometers per hour.”

A hi tech form of seaweed inlaid with fibres of a special edible Kevlar like that used on France’s Sushi Train a Grande Vitesse (STGV) will be used to keep the spicy mayo and tuna ships in one piece.

But not everybody is enthusiastic about the project. Wagga Wagga farmer Trevor Gumboot is sceptical that the train will ever become a reality.

“They promise us a Very Fast Sushi Train at every election but everyone knows this is just roast pork aburi barrelling,” said the disgruntled grazier. “The distances in Australia are simply too great to make it economically sustainable. It’s all good in Japan where it’s only fifteen minutes from Tokyo to Osaka, but no-one wants to eat a prawn that’s been sitting in 400C for five hours in the Aussie sun. I’ve seen a study that shows up to 70% of the product will be eaten by cockatoos before it reaches Albury.”

Consulting firm Deloites estimates that a standard selection on a little round plate with the yellow coloured rim will cost a whopping $128 without any form of public subsidy. Chef’s special black plates will cost $500 each.

Peter Green
http://www.twitter.com/Greeny_Peter

Mark Williamson

@MWChatShow

You can follow The (un)Australian on twitter @TheUnOz or like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/theunoz.

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Exclusive List Of Budget Winners In Non-Marginal Seats

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 30/03/2022 - 7:00am in

This Page Left Intentionally Blank.

ScoMo Tells Frydenberg To Slap Albo During His Budget Speech

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 29/03/2022 - 6:49am in

Australia’s Prime Minister (for now) Scotty from marketing has called on his Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to take a moment tonight in his Budget speech to reach over and slap Opposition leader Anthony Albanese.

”Scott, err, ScoMo, saw yesterday the power of the slap,” said a Government Spokesperson. ”No one remembers who won what at the Oscars, only that Will Smith slapped Chris Rock.”

”If Josh pulls this off all they’ll be talking about is the slap not the budget.”

When asked if the Government was seriously more interested in distracting from rather than delivering the budget, the Government Spokesperson said: ”If the Prime Minister were here he’d reject the premise of your question.”

”The Morrison Government is committed to delivering a budget that delivers to Australia, a Government that is lead by Scott Morrison.”

”Ánthony Albanese won’t be delivering that budget, only Scott Morrison can deliver that.”

”Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to pick up Peta Credlin, she’s going to coach Josh on how to deliver a decent slap.”

Mark Williamson

@MWChatShow

You can follow The (un)Australian on twitter @TheUnOz or like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/theunoz.

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Barnaby Calls For More Stimulus For Swinging Voters In Tuesday’s Budget

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 28/03/2022 - 7:00am in

Australia’s deputy Prime Minister and aspiring minister for home affairs Barnaby Joyce has called on Treasurer Josh Frydenburg to allow for more stimulus to the Nation’s swinging voters in Tuesday’s budget.

”Swingers often get overlooked in the budget,” said the Member for New England. ”But, not as long as I’m part of the Government.”

”I pledge to provide more subsidies for glass bowls, free key rings and of course no GST on frangers.”

When asked why he took such a keen interest in stimulating swingers, the deputy PM said: ”I believe in providing strong stimulus to all people, especially young fit lady voters.”

”Besides, there is no mention of swingers in the PM’s bonk ban.”

”Now, if you’ll excuse me, I saw a lovely couple of swingers down the road that I am very keen to go and poll.”

Mark Williamson

@MWChatShow

You can follow The (un)Australian on twitter @TheUnOz or like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/theunoz.

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Out-of-touch Chancellor’s Spring Statement fails to help those most in need

“Once we allow ourselves to be disobedient to the test of an accountant’s profit, we have begun to change our civilisation.”
John Maynard Keynes  

This week, amidst continuing global economic uncertainty caused by the ongoing pandemic and the outbreak of war in Ukraine, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, delivered his Spring Budget. Unsurprisingly, it did little to help the very poorest of households, as the Resolution Foundation reported in its analysis that followed:

“Taking into account the measures announced by the Chancellor, the typical working-age household faces an income fall of 4 per cent, or £1,100, in 2022-23. But the greatest falls will be felt by the poorest quarter of households who are set to see their incomes fall by 6 per cent. This will see a further 1.3 million people fall into absolute poverty next year, including 500,000 children – the first time Britain has seen such a rise in poverty outside of recessions.

 

Incomes are on course to be lower at the next election (2024-25) than they were at the last (2019-20), with typical non-pensioner income projected to be 2 per cent lower. Such an outcome would make this the worst parliament on record for living standards growth.

 

The Chancellor pre-announced a 1p cut in the basic rate of Income Tax for April 2024, saving an average earner £243 a year. But the gains of this and the lasting impact of a higher National Insurance threshold are wiped out by previously announced tax rises.  In 2024-25, when the income tax cut comes into effect, 27 million out of the 31 million people in work will pay more Income Tax and NI as a result of personal tax changes announced by Rishi Sunak.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak filling a red car with petrol at a petrol stationImage by HM Treasury on Flickr. Creative Commons 2.0 license.

While the Chancellor continues to count the tax beans and make his calculations, those who have already suffered the consequences of the last 12 years of Conservative policies will now be expected to take further pain in the form of a resurrection of harmful austerity dressed up in the concept of possible ‘jam tomorrow’. Cynically speaking, just before the next election.

In the light of a sustained round of higher government spending and the myth that we have borrowed heavily to sustain an economy hit by a global pandemic (even if much of that went into corporate pockets), some economically uneducated politicians are now appealing to the nation yet again to sacrifice their well-being on the altar of balanced budgets. We should be willing victims, according to this false logic. Despite the huge spending over the past two years, the household budget myths were never far away from the public gaze as the media pounded their messages about how there would be a price to pay, eventually.

At the same time as the Resolution Foundation lays it on the line as to the significance of the Chancellor’s budget, which yet again divides rich and poor, it then goes on to reinforce the myths about how the UK government spends. Tax receipts, it said, had come in much stronger in 2021/22 than expected, which would give the Chancellor ‘headroom against his fiscal rules’. The Independent claimed however that Sunak was keeping some of that tax bonanza back for a rainy day or to cover his planned tax cut in 2024. Whilst the Foundation’s analysis is stark on the consequences of this week’s budget, it is clearly still in the dark ages when it comes to describing how currency-issuing governments spend, as are so many think tanks and organisations on both the left and the right, not to mention a myopic media.

Charles Dicken’s character Micawber has been resurrected (if he ever went away) by a Chancellor who, after an astonishing fiscal response to the pandemic, is now re-donning Thatcher’s mantle, reinforcing the lie that taxes fund spending, or that government needs to borrow to fund itself over and above its revenue.

The suggestion by Torsten Bell at the Resolution Foundation, that these unexpected tax receipts would allow the Chancellor to consolidate the Treasury’s fiscal position and deliver his promises is just more shoring up of a myth that governments spend like our own households. And a bit of a joke because by any standards what the Chancellor, with his great wealth and extensive property portfolio, has done, is punish those who can least afford it and who do have to live within their financial means or face the prospect of debt because they are currency users, not currency issuers. The rising use of food banks and increasing homelessness can only get worse as his budget decisions begin to bite in April and our public services will continue to deteriorate without adequate funding.

Holding forth from his ivory tower, Sunak has not an ounce of understanding about the impact of government spending policies on the lives of working people, not to mention the economy. His decisions are directed by a desire to show himself fiscally prudent, not by public health and economic security.

When Rishi Sunak says, as he did earlier this week, that ‘we can’t help everyone because it’s too expensive’ or proposes an efficiency drive to cut £5.5bn of claimed government waste with a view to those savings being used to fund vital public services, it is quite simply a distortion of the facts to serve a political agenda.

Whether it is the Chancellor reciting the usual mantra about it being ‘vital that every single penny of taxpayers’ hard-earned cash is […] spent well,’ or the Shadow Chancellor and other uninformed left-wing politicians suggesting that they would fund public services via a windfall tax on energy companies, the public is being led by the nose in its ignorance of how government spends. An ignorance perpetuated by the daily narratives in both left- and right-wing quarters and by a compliant media singing from the same hymnbook. The economic orthodoxy rules the roost. And yet increasingly we are seeing the true cost of such narratives. They are not financial, they are the threats to human life, biodiversity, and a functioning planet.

Given the challenges we face from an increasingly forgotten climate crisis (and incidentally scarcely mentioned in the Spring budget), the ongoing exploitation of the global south, which has bled countries dry to sustain the lifestyle of the west and which is coupled with rising poverty and inequality affecting citizens across the world, it is time to challenge these myths which have served a political agenda and a toxic ideology. Keeping the myths alive for the purposes of social control and the profits rolling into private pockets with government serving its corporate masters.

Nothing is too expensive in monetary terms; government doesn’t have a finite pot of money with which to provide public and social infrastructure and neither does it have to doff its cap to the wealthy or large corporations to provide it. Contrary to the usual household budget narrative, when the government spends, it does so based on a political agenda, not the state of the public coffers. It just doesn’t want the public to know that, because it is a lie that can be used to justify its spending policies and who gets the money, or indeed yet another round of austerity when it suits. A harmful ideology that feeds government policies and spending decisions.

The proof of the pudding lies in the fact that when it serves that agenda there is always money to fund a government’s own political priorities such as war or defence spending, or public contracts divvied out to its mates with no accountability. Only this week, Sunak revealed that the UK had given Ukraine £100 million worth of weaponry. And yet at the same time, he tells us that savings in government departments must be found by rooting out waste which can in turn, according to the household budget narrative, be used to fund public services, as if a government that issues its own currency has no money of its own and has to tax or borrow or make ‘savings’ by robbing Peter to pay Paul to fund its agenda.

While the Telegraph talks this week about the parlous state of the public finances and running out of road, suggesting that excessive government spending was crowding out investment in the private sector by discouraging ‘innovation and competition in crucial sectors such as health and education’ (which tells us a lot about the priorities of those on the conservative right), it claimed also that government spending levels were ‘indefensible.’  These statements are predicated on the lie that money is a finite and scarce resource and that the State and its public infrastructure is wasteful of hard-earned taxpayers’ money!

While the Telegraph talks tough by suggesting that spending needs to be cut even further, the Spring Budget is already a kick in the teeth for those who are currently struggling to make ends meet and will mean even more hardship and poverty as energy, food and other costs continue to rise. The Chancellor has made a political choice to create further difficulties for already beleaguered citizens on the promise of ‘jam tomorrow.’ Fiscal discipline over national economic well-being. What a cruel way to view the lives of millions of people, who it seems have become expendable in some people’s eyes where government finances are concerned. Better a balanced budget than a happier, healthier more productive nation.

Let us ask what is the role of government? To balance the budget, keep the wealthy happy and the profits rolling? Or something else? What we should be discussing is not the state of the government finances, whether it has balanced its budget or gilded its reputation as being fiscally prudent, but how it has managed the real but finite resources it can, if it chooses, access through its tax and other policies to create a sustainable and functioning economy which benefits everyone, not just a small section of it.

Thus, a healthy economy depends primarily, not on a private sector paying its taxes to provide vital public infrastructure, for too long the public has been misled on this issue. It depends instead on the spending and legislative decisions taken by a currency-issuing government to create the publicly paid for and preferably managed national and local infrastructure upon which we all depend as individuals and businesses, from health to education, welfare, public transport networks, and employment. Government in service to its electorate, not the corporate body. That should be the starting point for a discussion about where we go from here and involves creating a better public understanding of how government really spends.

In short, the current economic problems and inflationary pressures are not caused by too much government spending as some would have it, but by supply chain disruptions resulting from the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the growing effects of climate change on the world economy including food production. This is a moment not for fiscal retrenchment but thinking best how to support working people in these difficult days and planning for a sustainable and fairer future for all.

 

 

 

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The post Out-of-touch Chancellor’s Spring Statement fails to help those most in need appeared first on The Gower Initiative for Modern Money Studies.

The consequences of Rishi Sunak: the PDF version

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 27/03/2022 - 9:36pm in

I have this morning turned yesterday's long thread, and those from the two previous weekends, into a PDF, which should be easier to read:

If printing this (and it's really intended for screen reading) the layout really requires two pages be printed per A4 sheet.

I have added this new introduction to the thread:

I wrote the text of this pamphlet on 24 and 25 March 2022 as a reaction to Rishi Sunak‘s Spring Statement (or budget), made to the House of Commons on 23 March 2022.

I got my first public comment on this statement in early. Alongside Mark Littlewood of the Institute of Economic Affairs (with whom I rarely agree) I have been offering budget commentary on the Jeremy Vine show on BBC Radio 2 for more than a decade now. We go live almost the moment the Chancellor sits down.

Oddly, we were the first guests to apparently appear live in the studio with Jeremy for two years, having been just about the last to do before Covid lockdown in March 2020, and now we were back. Jeremy noted that this felt like a Blues Brothers reunion, aided by the fact that we all happened to be wearing blue jackets. His pleasure in having familiar guests in front of him was apparent.

What I reminded Jeremy of as a result was that in March 2020 my comment to him on what turned out to be the first of the many Sunak statements made that year was that Sunak had completely misunderstood the scale of the crisis that he faced with regard to Covid at that time. What I suggested this time was that Sunak had completely misunderstood the scale of the crisis that he now faces with regard to mass poverty in the UK.

In comments between the three of us, which were not broadcast, I went further and suggested that the real Crisis was that Sunak did not appreciate that the challenge that he was really facing was the end of globalisation and the neoliberal politics that has underpinned that economic process. Quite simply, what was happening was that the old was dying and that the new was waiting to be born. It’s a phrase that I did, of course, borrow from Gramsci, but that does not in any way change its relevance: this is what I think is happening.

I headed from BBC Radio 2 to the studios of LBC in Westminster later that afternoon. I was on the Andrew Marr show on that station between 6.30 and 7 pm that evening. In a discussion with Andrew before the show began, I made much the same point, that we appeared to be at the political point where everything had to change. I admit that, like Jeremy before him, I am not entirely convinced that he agreed with the argument, but equally, he was very clearly interested in it. Indeed, in his particular case, I am fairly sure that his own departure from the BBC was motivated by the desire to have more freedom to explore the changes that he very obviously thinks need to happen.

At the close of the Andrew Maher show I enjoyed a slightly surreal experience. At 6:58 the program changeover to bring in the following show began. I rose from my chair, took off my microphone, and passed them over for Rishi Sunak to use because he was my replacement as the studio guest. We shook hands and spoke briefly as we changed places. 

It was on the train home afterwards that I realised I probably needed to write a little more about the reasons for the failure of Sunak’s Spring Statement that day. The universal condemnation of that statement right across the media, including in newspapers normally totally loyal to the Conservative party, the next morning was unusual, to say the least. However, almost no one was picking up the consequences of what Sunak was saying. It was easy for the media to concentrate on the immediate impacts of his negligence. Tales of real, and impending, poverty were everywhere. However, extrapolation of the consequences of Sunak’s choice to strip large parts of the UK population of almost any disposable income over the which they might have any real choice as to how they might spend it was almost entirely ignored. As a consequence, I realised that the thread in this pamphlet needed to be written.

Writing a long Twitter thread is not a new activity for me. I have previously published a collection of them entitled ‘Money for nothing and my Tweets for free’[1]. In the run-up to this Spring Statement I had published a couple more that had attracted a lot of attention. One explained the cause of the inflation we are facing, and the other the scale of the resulting poverty. These are now appendices in this pamphlet and provide background information to the main argument within it.

I admit that I did not plan to write a thread as long as the one that follows. Nor did I expect that many people would read it once I had published it. No one should really write a Twitter thread of around 6,000 words, or expect anyone to get to the end of it, but they did. This note is being written on the morning of 27th March, just over 24 hours after the thread was published. The stats for the opening Tweet in the thread are as follows at this moment:

Some people said in response to the thread that it should be a pamphlet. I agree. That is why I have produced this version.

Others said it read more like a book plan than a Twitter thread. Those doing so are right: this thread had a dual purpose. Many of the themes in this thread need significant elaboration. My publisher will have a copy of this note soon after it is published. 

These points are, though, incidental. The key issues are those noted in the thread. My sense that Sunak’s apparent total indifference to the crisis developing around him, about which he claimed he could do nothing, has only grown. In a sense it is epochal: it does, I think (and hope) mark the end of an era.

Anyone who has been following my blog since it began in 2006 will know that I have rarely been happy with neoliberalism and all its consequences, from tax havens onwards. Those a little more observant will also have noted that I have rarely promoted solutions that might be described as socialist. There are three good reasons.

The first is that I do not see conflict-based dogmas that are used to underpin a political creed as a solution to the problems that we face, which I think require cooperation, and socialism is a confrontational creed of this sort.

Second, I do not think the public ownership of assets is in itself a panacea. It is all too obvious that mismanagement, from simple incompetence to outright corruption, can exist in the public as well as the private sectors and for that reason I see any change of ownership as being a little relevance in itself in many (but not all) cases. The exceptions are based on need driven by market failure, or the simple absence of market-based solutions, and not dogma.

Third, I had to think that there is real value in the partnership between the state and private sectors, so long as each does what it is best at, and plays within the rules laid down by ethical, liberal democracy where the needs of all are paramount.

What is described in this thread is, then, something which as yet does not really have a name. I might use social democracy, except that seems timeworn. I am also, candidly, not too worried about that absence of a name as yet. That’s because I’m not really very interested in labels. I am interested in consequences.

At this moment the consequences of Sunak are mass poverty, failing public services, injustice, and failure to tackle climate change. He can only plead guilty to all those things. The evidence on the ground is that there is no defence available to him on any of these allegations. He is, quite literally, destroying the whole fabric of society as we have known it with a casual indifference that is callous and very painful to both witness and experience.

I wrote this thread to say just that. I suspect there will be more to come that will explore the issues that we must address in more depth.

Richard Murphy

Ely, Cambridgeshire

March 2022

[1] Available as a free download, here https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2021/04/14/mfnamtff/

 

What is certain is Sunak has failed, but maybe the whole of neoliberalism has too

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 24/03/2022 - 6:23pm in

According to Politico (itself, right wing in orientation):

Rishi Sunak is braced for a difficult morning broadcast round after his spring statement endured a very rough landing Wednesday. The chancellor is waking up to a clean sweep of hostile front pages and stinging criticism from economics think tanks, Conservative MPs and the opposition. The alarming testimony of LBC radio phone-in callers in distress about their own fuel poverty crises will likely be ringing in his ears, and it’s only getting worse: Most papers lead with the devastating blow that living standards will see their biggest fall since records began in the 1950s, just in time for the next general election.

As I told Andrew Marr on LBC last night, my feeling was that he blew this budget as badly as he did his first budget in March 2020. He was back at the Dispatch Box within a fortnight then. I predicted he will have to be back this time too as household poverty escalates to levels much higher than the 2% cost the OBR predicts, itself the worst since records began in the 1950s.

I offered a simple explanation. It was that mothers who cannot feed their children get very angry.

The seat I vacated at LBC at 7 pm was then taken by Rishi Sunak. We shook hands and shared a few words during the changeover. I do not think he anticipated the anger that came his way in the programme that followed. He certainly heard some of what I had to say: he was standing outside by a monitor as I said it.

I am now working on a longer explanation of what is happening. That will be out later. I have other broadcasting commitments this morning. But what is certain is that for Sunak everything has changed. And he might just be the weather vain. Maybe everything has.

What is certain is Sunak has failed.

But maybe the whole of neoliberalism has too, and globalisation with it.

Sunak’s budget forecasts are a work of fantasy

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 24/03/2022 - 2:07am in

Because of media commitments I am going to have few comments to make here this afternoon, but this one relates to an issue that only the more technically minded who read this blog might get, so I have time to make it.

After every budget statement I look at the chart of the sectoral balances issued by the Office for Budget Responsibility. The sectoral balances have to balance to zero between the four main sectors in the economy, which are business, the public, the government and the overseas sector.  In effect, they simply show who is borrowing and who is lending in aggregate, and to whom.

This is the chart from the latest version, issued today:

In effect, the government presumes that in the face of a massive cost of living crisis that is going to crush demand business is going to borrow heavily to invest. That is simply not going to happen.

At the same time it assumes that households faced by a cost of living crisis that is going to break household budgets are going to repay debt, and quite heavily, fails soon. There is precisely no chance of that happening when households are instead going to be crushed by new debt.

Interestingly, there is a frank recognition that foreign lending to the UK is going to fall, as I predicted recently. The oligarchs are leaving. This is the one bit of this chart I believe.

And based on this Sunak claims he will, in effect, balance his current budget and only borrow for investment. Politely, that is pure nonsense in the circumstances.

You only have to look at this one chart to know how badly Sunak has miscalculated. The forecast is staggeringly wrong.

The Chancellor may overstate necessary government interest costs by up to £30 billion today

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 23/03/2022 - 10:44pm in

Tags 

Budget, Economics

There will be much talk of unaffordable debt burdens from Sunak today, none of which is true.

The reality is that are about £1,500 billion of conventional gilts or bonds in issue, but since the government owns more than half of these there are only about  £675 bn owned by the public. The annual cost, net of the debt owned by the government using quantitative easing is about £15 billion a year. Around £20 billion of interest paid on the rest of these bonds goes straight bank to the government.

£500bn of index linked stock is in issue. The cost a year ago was around £5bn pa, and will now be around £40bn because of the increase in inflation.

The only other so-called debt to worry about is balances held by clearing banks on deposits with the Bank of England on their central bank reserve accounts. These are around £900 billion so the cost was less than £1 bn until recently and now maybe £8 bn

So, index linked stock is the problem.

But then note that there is no obligation at all on the Bank of England to pay interest on central bank reserves and almost all the index linked cost is an accrual i.e. an estimate of a cost that may, or may not be paid one day, and as a result is subject to change. There is no current cash cost to most of this.

In other words, this issue is being massively overplayed, not least by using gross debt figures that ignore quantitive easing. It is likely that the Chancellor may overstate the necessary interest cost by up to £30 billion today to provide reason why he cannot spend, and that makes me very angry when millions will suffer as a result.

This is not a time for small thinking when only big thinking will do

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 23/03/2022 - 7:24pm in

I have a fairly strong suspicion I will not be getting what I want from the Spring Statement today.

I set out my concerns in a Twitter thread posted at the weekend, also posted here. In this I showed, using ONS data, that it is likely that most households earning the median wage or less will face cost of living price increases within a year which will, after allowing for likely pay increases, exceed £3,000 a year. Higher income households will actually face potentially bigger costs, but from the eighth decile onwards are likely to have the flexibility to manage the resulting choices without hardship resulting, even if they will be very angry. We are, in other words, facing a systemic crisis.

Without virtually any prior warning an inflation crisis has emerged that is wholly down to profiteering in the supply chains for food, oil and domestic energy. Since the actual costs of production for these items has not changed in any material way, exploitation can be the only explanation for what is happening in the face of shortages caused by Covid, war and, in our case, Brexit.

No one under the age of 60 has witnessed anything like this. Almost no one has experience in managing it. And unlike, say, the 70s where the issue built over time and so experience was built on all sides, on this occasion the crisis is hitting with no preparation.

This is resulting, in my opinion, in a massive misreading of what is happening. This crisis is being treated by politicians and the media alike as a ‘cost of living crisis’ for the poor. It is that, of course, but it is also so much more.

First, it is a cost of living crisis for most households in the UK. Not just those at the bottom, but most of them, and politically that matters.

Second, this is not just a cost of living crisis. As people without money stop spending (and they will do that, right across the spectrum of incomes) then this turns into a viability crisis for businesses in the leisure and travel sector. That then turns into a jobs crisis. The result is rising debt, and risk of default. Then there is a rent and eviction crisis. Mortgage defaults follow. Then we have a banking crisis.

That is what we actually face. This is not a crisis for only low income households. This is a potential economic meltdown.

Right now it seems almost no politician gets this. Sunak does not, I am sure. Rumour has it he will not even rebate all the tax gains he is making from inflation.

But he is not alone. Labour and the Greens (and I debated with Caroline Lucas on Radio 4 yesterday) do not get it either. They all want measures targeted at ‘the poorest’. Road fuel changes do not meet their criteria then, even though 40% of road fuel duty is paid by business and as a result hits those on low incomes hard when passed on in prices. That point is being entirely missed by these politicians who in the face of a systemic crisis are thinking anything but systemically.

You cannot solve this crisis by increasing universal credit for example, even if it goes up by £60 a week (which it won’t) because UC will not reach all those impacted.

And wages cannot change enough. And even if they do, they are taxed, so the required increases will only compound the inflationary pressure in due course.

A sudden onset inflation crisis can only be tackled by hitting the cause hard. That does require significant windfall taxes, because politics demands these. There is no way those exploiting this situation can be seen to get away with this without consequence with the peace also being maintained.

But the reaction has also to hit prices unless the contagion is to spread. The government can cut fuel prices by 58p a litre with fuel duty cuts and by a bit less with VAT cuts, if it wants. Of course that is expensive. The cost would exceed £40 billion. Recession would cost very much more.

And to shelter all consumers of average domestic fuel consumption from price rises might cost another £30 billion. But poverty would be prevented, and recession avoided.

For £70 billion this crisis can be avoided in that case. The money is available - from savers and QE, if need be. There is no question about that.

And for the record, if this action halved the rate of inflation maybe £20 billion in government interest costs would be saved as an initial indication of all the savings that would flow from this.

But, and I cannot stress the point enough, this is only possible by hitting prices and not by changing benefits or tax rates, except on oil and energy tariffs. Nothing less will do.

Will any politician appreciate this in time? I am not sure.

What I am certain about is that radical thinking of this sort is required, now. It is the only way to stop a crisis from which millions will suffer. This is not a moment for small thinking. Only big thinking will do.

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