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Tony Dolphin

Senior Economist and Associate Director for Economic Policy, IPPR

Senior Economist and Associate Director for Economic Policy

Striking the Right Balance

In today's budget, George Osborne sets out a path for the government's fiscal deficit over the next five years. His aim is to get the overall budget into surplus by 2019/20. This is one year later that planned back in March - a welcome smoothing of the path for eliminating the government's deficit. But he may still be moving too fast.
08/07/2015 16:51 BST

Dear Business Secretary: There Is No Productivity Growth Left

While the Chancellor is going to be tied up for at least the next six months conducting a spending review and beginning a renegotiation with the EU Commission, the task of ensuring the economy continues to expand will largely fall to the new business secretary. That, rather than changing the law on strike ballots, will be the biggest issue in Sajid Javid's inbox...
14/05/2015 17:39 BST

The UK Really Is Living Beyond Its Means - In the Global Economy

When politicians and economists talk about the government's budget deficit, they often say that the UK is 'living beyond its means'. That is debateable, and will doubtless be subject to fierce argument as the election approaches. What is indisputable, though, is that in the global economy the UK is really living beyond its means.
01/04/2015 15:35 BST

A Budget for Votes, Not Productivity

George Osborne delivered his last budget of the current parliament today and, like many Chancellors before him in the same situation, he produced a number of populist measures designed to improve his party's chances at the forthcoming general election. Nobody is surprised by this, but - in the longer-term context - this was the wrong budget for the UK economy at this time.
18/03/2015 15:04 GMT

More Needs to Be Done to Boost UK Exports

An industrial strategy that focuses on clusters would be a strategic departure from the approach of much of the last three decades, when growth has been promoted through mainly sector-neutral horizontal policies. But without a shift of this nature, there is little prospect of the export revival that the Chancellor was hoping for when he set his target, and little hope of a rebalancing of the economy.
06/02/2015 16:52 GMT

How Quickly Should Government Debt Be Reduced?

The Chancellor is right to argue that debt will have to be reduced. There is no definitive answer to the question of the optimal level of debt, but debt in the UK has doubled since the onset of the financial crisis and, as a result, it would be harder to respond to a future severe downturn in economic activity through an easing of fiscal policy. Debt needs to be reduced to create room for it to be increased again if needed.
15/01/2015 18:07 GMT

The Chancellor's Deficit Reduction Plan Is a Risk to the Economic Recovery

In his Autumn Statement on Wednesday, the Chancellor reaffirmed his plan to eliminate the fiscal deficit (public sector net borrowing) by 2018/19. He is also going to put the issue to a vote in parliament. He will undoubtedly win the vote, but if the next government chooses to follow this path it could be making a huge mistake.
03/12/2014 16:47 GMT

How George Osborne Would Allocate (Some of) the Pain

A cynical reading of the Chancellor' speech, therefore, would note that having announced that £25billion of spending cuts are needed, he only detailed where £3billion would be found. What about the other £22billion? It's a safe bet that we will not hear much about them before the general election.
30/09/2014 10:03 BST

Inflation Down But Market Failures Still Contribute to 'Cost of Living Crisis'

With the large increases in employment seen over the last couple of years now starting to create shortages of workers in some areas, there has also been an increase in the growth rate of average earnings in recent months. The result is that earnings in real terms - that is after adjusting for inflation - are no longer falling.
14/05/2014 11:39 BST

The UK Economy Is Not Becoming More Resilient

In his budget speech, the Chancellor said that he wanted Britain to have more economic resilience. The economic recovery that his polices are delivering is unlikely to achieve this aim.
19/03/2014 16:32 GMT

My 2014 Economic Briefing

In his March 2011 Budget, George Osborne promised a 'march of the makers': an economic recovery led by manufacturing industry boosting exports and investment spending. But companies have been reluctant to oblige, and as we look forward to 2014, a recovery built on this solid foundation seems increasingly unlikely.
27/12/2013 23:02 GMT

Not Even Back to Where We Started

In his Autumn Statement, the Chancellor is claiming vindication for his economic strategy, saying that it has put Britain back on the road to economic recovery. However, while it does appear to be the case that the economy is recovering again, this is in spite of his economic policies, not because of them.
05/12/2013 13:01 GMT

UK's Poor Trade Performance Highlights Need for Active Industrial Policies

What is needed is a more active industrial policy. For too long, while other countries have supported industries where they have a competitive advantage, policy makers in the UK have used the country's bad experience with industrial policies in the 1970s to justify a hands-off approach.
22/08/2013 13:46 BST

The AME Cap Becomes a Welfare Cap (And Then Only a Partial One)

Details of how the cap will work have yet to emerge, though the Chancellor said in his speech that it will 'reflect forecast inflation' and be set in cash terms. This appears to leave room for the government to set the cap in line with inflation, or to set it higher or lower.
26/06/2013 17:36 BST

Not a Queen's Speech for the Economy

Expectations of the Queen's Speech, in terms of economic measures, were low. Sadly, they turn out to be right. Nothing that was announced today will make much difference either to growth in the economy in the short-term or its potential to grow in the medium-term.
08/05/2013 13:08 BST

GDP Up but There's Still a Long Way to Go

The importance of these figures isn't whether or not we have entered a triple dip, but that the UK economy is stuck in a rut. Real GDP remains 2.6 per cent below its peak level five years ago and has increased by just 0.4 per cent over the last two and a half years. After five years, this is disappointing news not only for the government but for businesses and consumers, who are experiencing a continued squeeze on their living standards.
25/04/2013 10:51 BST

Triple Dip? Maybe - Triple Crisis? Definitely

If GDP also shrinks in the first quarter of 2013, then the economy will be back in technical recession - the third recession in the space of five years. However, this still remains speculation. We will not know for sure whether the economy is back in recession for another three months.
25/01/2013 10:30 GMT

Chancellor Visits the 'Magic Money Tree'

The announced increases in capital investment are welcome but the fact that they are funded by cuts in other areas of public spending mean the Chancellor is merely shuffling money from one pot to another, which will do nothing for growth.
05/12/2012 15:13 GMT

Vince Cable's Business Bank Lacks Ambition

It seems that the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, has secured a promise from the Treasury that it will back his idea for a state business back with £1 billion of taxpayers' money. He hopes that the new 'British Business Bank' will be up and running in 18 months.
24/09/2012 12:38 BST