Tony Dolphin
Senior Economist and Associate Director for Economic Policy

Entries by Tony Dolphin

Striking the Right Balance

(0) Comments | Posted 8 July 2015 | (17:33)

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...

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Dear Business Secretary: There Is No Productivity Growth Left

(7) Comments | Posted 15 May 2015 | (01:00)

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...

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

(0) Comments | Posted 31 March 2015 | (15:28)

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...

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A Budget for Votes, Not Productivity

(1) Comments | Posted 18 March 2015 | (16:04)

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. Thus, we had cuts in beer duty, increases in personal tax...

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More Needs to Be Done to Boost UK Exports

(0) Comments | Posted 6 February 2015 | (16:44)

Back in 2012, it was generally agreed that it was not just vital for the UK economy to recover from recession, but also important that the recovery should lead to a better balanced economy. Growth, it was hoped, would be due more to strength in exports and business investment and...

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How Quickly Should Government Debt Be Reduced?

(1) Comments | Posted 16 January 2015 | (00:00)

Yesterday the Chancellor gave a lecture to the Royal Economic Society setting out three goals for British economic policy over the next two decades. The second goal was to sustain fiscal credibility by running budget surpluses in 'good times' so as to reduce the nominal value of government...

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

(3) Comments | Posted 4 December 2014 | (00:00)

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...

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How George Osborne Would Allocate (Some of) the Pain

(3) Comments | Posted 30 September 2014 | (01:00)

The Chancellor, George Osborne, told the Conservative Party Conference on Monday that a further £25billion of permanent savings will be needed to eliminate the UK's fiscal deficit, and he also began to set out how a Conservative government would find these savings.

First, he rules out increases in taxes -...

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

(0) Comments | Posted 14 May 2014 | (12:04)

When the latest consumer price figures for April are released next Tuesday (20 May), they are likely to show inflation remained close to the 1.6 per cent rate recorded by the Office for National Statistics in March. This was the lowest rate of inflation in the UK for...

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The UK Economy Is Not Becoming More Resilient

(3) Comments | Posted 19 March 2014 | (17:30)

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.

The good news that accompanied the Budget is that the Office for Budget Responsibility's (OBR) forecasts...

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My 2014 Economic Briefing

(2) Comments | Posted 28 December 2013 | (00:00)

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.


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Not Even Back to Where We Started

(10) Comments | Posted 5 December 2013 | (12:29)

In his Autumn Statement today, 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,...

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

(0) Comments | Posted 22 August 2013 | (14:40)

The Office for National Statistics has just published an interesting analysis of trends in the UK's trade performance since 2007. It seeks to understand why, despite the 25 per cent depreciation of sterling between Q3 2007 and Q1 2009, the balance of trade in goods and services has...

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

(0) Comments | Posted 26 June 2013 | (18:19)

In his budget statement earlier this year, the Chancellor said that he would set out as part of today's spending review 'a new limit on a significant proportion of Annually Managed Expenditure'.

Today, he announced that the cap will apply to over £100billion of welfare spending,...

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Not a Queen's Speech for the Economy

(2) Comments | Posted 8 May 2013 | (14:07)

Any assessment of government statements that have a bearing on the economy should answer two questions: will the measures announced boost growth in the short-term and will they strength the economy's growth potential in the medium- to long-term. On neither score was there much to get excited about in today's...

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

(1) Comments | Posted 25 April 2013 | (11:20)

The Chancellor can finally breathe a small sigh of relief following the release of today's GDP figures. The first estimate shows the UK managed to narrowly escape the much dreaded triple dip recession as the economy expanded by 0.3 per cent in the first quarter of the year....

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Triple Dip? Maybe - Triple Crisis? Definitely

(18) Comments | Posted 25 January 2013 | (09:43)

All the talk is once again of a triple-dip after today's GDP figures for the final quarter of 2012 showed the economy contracted by 0.3%. If GDP also shrinks in the first quarter of 2013, then the economy will be back in technical recession - the third recession...

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Chancellor Visits the 'Magic Money Tree'

(8) Comments | Posted 6 December 2012 | (00:00)

In keeping with the pressures of Coalition politics, the measures announced by the Chancellor in the Autumn Statement have something for the Conservative backbenches and something for the Liberal Democrats, but rather less than either would have wished.

The Conservative backbenches get cuts in welfare spending. Measures to limit increases...

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If the UK is in Recession, How Come Employment is Increasing So Rapidly?

(41) Comments | Posted 17 October 2012 | (12:00)

The latest employment figures, published today, do little to resolve the conundrum over the UK's unusual combination of strong employment growth and no economic growth.

Over the last year, real GDP has fallen by 0.5%, while employment has increased by 510,000 (and private sector employment by 824,000).

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Vince Cable's Business Bank Lacks Ambition

(0) Comments | Posted 24 September 2012 | (13:32)

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, when it...

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