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?
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.
If you have some collateral, that doesn't mean you shouldn't invest. And I may have a solution for you - dealing in modern art and vintage late twentieth-century furniture. You may think this is the reserve of the posh and rich. But, as a one-time working-class lad from East London, I can tell you it absolutely is not.
Today, two of the major UK business organisations delivered more good news on the economy. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) announced the best UK growth figures in May since 2003, and the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) upgraded its forecast to 3.1 per cent for 2014, the highest rate since the 2007 crisis...
Silicon Valley, the world's leading place for high-tech innovation and development, has been home to many of the world's largest technology corporations since the 1940's. Several generations of start-ups to exit companies which have generated huge amounts of revenue have led to investors re-investing due to its success.
Britain now has one of the most attractive tax systems in the world with Corporation Tax falling to 20% next year. This is great because business people and investors are vital to the future of the UK economy. We should never be embarrassed about wanting to attract people who can come here to create jobs.
Let's not forget that heated, intense competition is what brought us the banking crisis. Competition between banks - to be the biggest, the most profitable - stoked the selling of inappropriate mortgages, PPI and interest rate manipulation. Competition between traders or between salespeople - many of whom are measured daily by their earnings, with some firms posting these numbers publicly - is precisely what drove otherwise good people to do bad things.
The headlines following this week's Budget understandably focused on pensions and savings, with significant proposals announced that will fundamentally change the way people save in the UK. It was hailed by many as the biggest pensions shake-up for a generation, and so it is not surprising that this was the focus of debate in the immediate aftermath.