In 2013, the government deficit, according to the latest available Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures, was £92.9billion, which was 5.8% of GDP. All our major political parties are fixated on getting this deficit down by cutting expenditure and raising taxes. But should they be quite so determined to do so? Is austerity really the best way to cut the deficit?
So, maybe it's not all doom and gloom. British companies can be ready to fight hard for new exports with a weaker pound. Overseas investors, particularly those holding dollars due to the tightening of US fiscal rules, may well be looking to invest in British companies, which is good for the tech sector in particular.
"It was business wot won it!" That was David Cameron's message last night at the Business Leaders' Reception at Number 10, although they may not have been the exact words used by the Prime Minister. He did however make it clear that when he moved into Downing Street four years ago, the entire place, and I mean the country, not the residence, were in pretty bad shape. And there was no money to fix it.
Climate change policies have been a controversial area of UK politics for a number of years. Regular headline-grabbing claims on the impacts of these policies on energy bills have played their part in this. But equally problematic is the fact that a lot of the debate to date has centred on the upfront cost of low-carbon policies, with very little attention paid to understanding the broader economic impacts of reducing the UK's emissions.
The degree of centralised control in the UK is dramatic compared to other major economies, whether developed or developing, and it doesn't seem obvious as to why this makes good economic sense for either those that live in different parts of the country nor the country as a whole.
The lesson here is that child marriage does not "only" affect fourteen million girls a year; the consequences are far reaching. Early and forced child marriage not only violates the universal declaration of human rights, but it also prevents us from having an inclusive and prosperous global economy. Something that even the most conservative economist or demanding shareholder can agree is bad news, indeed.
Britain is rightly proud of its track record of job creation, but a successful 21st Century economy requires more. Ahead of the 2015 Election, it is time for all parties to face up to the changing face of the labour market, and set out their commitments to building a more sustainable, productive and robust economy that offers opportunities for all workers, and cities, throughout the UK.
When all things are taken into account, the UK is investing almost nothing in its economic future. The Coalition government may have conjured some temporary growth, but this will disappear without much more new investment and if we want to avoid long-term decline we need to act right now. The hard fact is that productivity growth in the UK has ground to a halt and there's a very simple reason for this: the UK, for the first time since the start of the Industrial Revolution, has virtually stopped investing in the type of economic activities which are capable of delivering increases in output per head of the population.
They are more likely to be following the maxim, "Live longer, work longer," but how much work do they actually do? Being "self-employed" may seem preferable to being "retired" and definitely better than "unemployed," even if many of the self-employed are in tiny jobs, working only a few hours a week. In truth, some may be happy with that, but not all are.
So you might think Cuba is a rather sad place with not a lot of hope. But that's not the Cuba I saw. As if buoyed on by its musical heartbeat (Salsa and Rumba are everywhere) I saw a Cuba where the human spirit is very much alive.
If standard class carriages generate 61% more income, then it would seem to be a simple financial decision to start converting first class carriages on their own initiative? This does depend on more demand being created for standard class.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released information on changes in self-employment, and confirms what we have said for years: the increase is an issue more of desperation than any 'entrepreneurial spirit'.
All the indicators suggest to me that the growth that we have is almost entirely due to the velocity of cash within the economy. The more times a pound is spent and re spent the greater the flow and this has an upward effect on growth.
Britain faces huge challenges to compete in a world being transformed by the pace of technological change and the rapid rise of emerging economies, which whilst intensifying competition are also creating huge new markets and new opportunities. The government is failing to meet these challenges and to tackle the cost-of-living crisis and ease the burden on households. After four years of Conservative-led government, wages after inflation are on average £1,600 a year lower than in 2010.
Today, the UK economy is in a lot better shape. Growth of 3.2% in the year to July - the strongest in the G10 - and the fears that to hold off on rate rises would create potential for dangerous bubbles in credit markets have been enough to move the votes of Martin Weale and Ian McCafferty to vote for a 25bps increase.
Our balance of payments deficit is far too high. In fact we have not had a surplus on our trade in goods since 1982 and we have not had an overall surplus in any year since 1983 - 30 years ago. As a result, we are unable to run our economy at full throttle.