Overall consumers had much to be positive about in 2014 and the start of 2015 has seen both consumers in their strongest position since our tracking began and continued signs of easing inflationary pressure (particularly on essentials). But that doesn't mean that there are not challenges ahead...
If the Conservatives win the next general election, they will make any industrial action illegal unless a minimum of 40% of eligible members participate in the vote. Fair enough, some will say. I am not against the principle of democratic thresholds per se, but I feel that they can only truly work within a system that is underpinned by equity and fairness...
As Mark Twain said, "Reports of my death are an exaggeration." The same might be said about the UK's Patent Box regime; a flagship tax policy, which was first mooted in Alistair Darling's pre-budget report in 2009 and finally launched by George Osborne in 2012.
Whilst the first half of the year has always been the busiest period for the housing market I believe activity will flat line across the year with a little less in the first half but made up in the second. Whatever the outcome, sellers in the first half could be winners in the second.
The biggest assault on our small businesses for many years seems to have slipped through the public consciousness. I was aware of it, of course, but until very recently I had failed to grasp the sheer scale of it.
We are a property mad nation, we all want our own castle to call home, and yet our property market is in perpetual crisis. We have damagingly high house prices and yet at the same time there is a lack of house building. There is a stream of initiatives from our politicians, but little changes. Here are nine facts that will challenge how you think about the housing crisis.
British trade unions and anti-business NGOs campaigning against TTIP should have the courage of their convictions to admit that they are opposed to open trade and investment, rather than peddling myths about ISDS and TTIP.
You could be forgiven for thinking that we in the UK are a lazy bunch.
The economic dangers associated with the introduction of the Euro were predictable - and indeed predicted by many. Yet political leaders at the time chose to make a grand and hubristic political statement irrespective of the devastation it could bring to their citizens. The Euro is, maybe, the best example of the consequences of a political and policy elite living in their own world and totally divorced from the consequences of their actions on ordinary people.
The most offensive aspect of Nigel Farage's views is the fact they are rooted in the dehumanisation of some of the most vulnerable people in society... The NHS stands as the very antithesis of the worldview promoted by Nigel Farage. It could not function without immigration and therefore an attack on the those from outwith the UK who help to ensure it remains the glowing testament to social and human solidarity it has been for generations, this is an attack on all of us.
On Monday, Ed Miliband kicked off his general election campaign with a speech in Salford. One of the lines pre-briefed to the press was that Labour would "offer hope, not falsehoods". Ed then stood up and read out a long list of glaring falsehoods.
Successive governments have failed to adequately plan to guarantee the energy supplies required for our economy, businesses and consumers. The UK has a poor track at delivering all manner of infrastructure projects. Persistent political short-termism means the UK's infrastructure ranks poorly compared to other developed nations. There is nowhere that this failure is better illustrated than with energy.
In their 10 o'clock bulletin, the BBC spent their time asking shoppers how busy it was (very, obviously) and following a family down a packed Oxford Street. If that is what's newsworthy, rather than Britain's social divide and economic progress, we should despair for sections of modern journalism.
Helping genuine refugees with support into a new independent life, where they can work, learn English and to be part of this country. Letting inaccurate stereotypes fuel the debate will harm our country in the long run.
Euroscepticism used to be a very English phenomenon. But, as this year's European elections demonstrated, it now has much wider credentials... Few EU member states have been left untouched by public protest over Europe, either on the streets or at the ballot box.
For decades, a company's performance has been measured almost exclusively in economic terms. Social and environmental issues such as health and safety in garment factories in Bangladesh, the use of conflict minerals in our mobiles, the privacy policies of internet service providers or forced labour on our doorstep have been seen as immaterial to how a company should be valued and how investors should assess performance. This is finally - and thankfully - changing.