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Jonathan Portes

Professor of Economics and Public Policy at King's College London, and senior fellow at The UK in a Changing Europe

Jonathan Portes is Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the School of Politics & Economics of King's College, London
The Deficit is

The Deficit is Falling!

There's nothing in economic theory that says you pause a third of the way through a deficit reduction programme which has gone way off track; nor does the fiscal framework, now effectively defunct with the abandonment of the debt target, dictate this approach.
23/04/2013 12:43 BST
'We've Cut the Deficit by a Third' - True - Here's What the Chancellor Didn't

'We've Cut the Deficit by a Third' - True - Here's What the Chancellor Didn't Say

The first substantive line of George Osborne's budget speech was: "We've now cut the deficit not by a quarter, but by a third". This might be surprising to anybody who read my earlier blog here, which pointed out that the deficit had (measured on a rolling twelve- month basis) been rising, not falling, for the last year or so.
22/03/2013 09:22 GMT
Speaking English Does Matter, But Almost All Immigrants to the UK

Speaking English Does Matter, But Almost All Immigrants to the UK Do

The bottom line is that only 134,000 people - 0.3% of the total population - don't speak English at all. Even in Newham, where well over half the population was born abroad, and the Sun seems to think that people "simply don't want to integrate", fewer than 1 in 10 of the population can't speak English well.
06/03/2013 12:45 GMT
The Austerity Delusion? (Or, 'Cuts? What

The Austerity Delusion? (Or, 'Cuts? What Cuts?')

The continued dismal performance of the UK economy is entirely consistent with the predictions of those of us who have argued consistently for the last two years that premature fiscal consolidation would be severely contractionary in the short term, and risked doing significant long-term economic and social damage.
28/01/2013 10:26 GMT
The Government's Mid Term Review: Deficit

The Government's Mid Term Review: Deficit Reduction

I would still argue that the pace has been too fast, and that the very large cuts to public investment were wholly misguided. But we should at least give the government credit for not making things even worse - which a misguided attempt to stick to the original plan undoubtedly would have.
10/01/2013 12:46 GMT
Can We Afford to Uprate

Can We Afford to Uprate Benefits?

In the Autumn Statement the chancellor decided to cut working age benefits and tax credits, thus reversing his previous (sensible) policy of allowing the "automatic stabilisers" to operate, and ignoring the advice of the IMF.
10/12/2012 17:01 GMT
Illegal Migrants: Can't Even Get Themselves

Illegal Migrants: Can't Even Get Themselves Arrested?

How many illegal immigrants are there in the UK? Unlike other such questions - how many 12 year olds are there in the UK? How many gay Jews? - where, although we don't know the exact answer, either survey and administrative data allows us to make an informed and reasonably accurate guess, we don't know, even approximately. But a new initiative by the Metropolitan Police suggests that the number may in fact be surprisingly low.
12/11/2012 17:08 GMT
Self-Defeating Austerity in

Self-Defeating Austerity in Europe

Is deficit-cutting - particularly the fiscal consolidation programmes currently under way in most European Union countries - self-defeating?
05/11/2012 13:09 GMT
What Explains Poor Growth in the UK? The IMF Thinks it's Fiscal

What Explains Poor Growth in the UK? The IMF Thinks it's Fiscal Policy

Everyone agrees growth since 2010 in the UK has been very disappointing. But there has been much debate about why - was it cutting the deficit too quickly, was it the spike in inflation resulting from commodity price rises, was it the impact on confidence from the eurozone?
09/10/2012 13:28 BST
Debt, Deficits and the Fiscal

Debt, Deficits and the Fiscal Framework

It has been widely reported that the government is considering abandoning the second half of its fiscal mandate - that debt should be falling as a percentage of GDP in 2015-16. My view is that the short term economic impacts of this are limited. It's not really news; NIESR has been saying for well over a year that this target was unlikely to be met.
12/09/2012 14:45 BST
Cut Red Tape to Boost Growrth? Start With

Cut Red Tape to Boost Growrth? Start With Immigration

With the economy persistently weak, there is a growing consensus among economists that premature austerity has done considerable unnecessary damage, and that there is a strong case for slowing fiscal consolidation.
23/08/2012 10:00 BST
Which (Macro)-Economists are Worth Listening

Which (Macro)-Economists are Worth Listening to?

I don't think there's any doubt that if policymakers, both in the UK and elsewhere (especially in the eurozone) had, during the intervening period, listened to these people rather than their own economic advisers, the state of the UK and world economies would be significantly better than it is now.
30/07/2012 10:39 BST
'We've Got the Deficit Down by a Quarter': If This Is

'We've Got the Deficit Down by a Quarter': If This Is Success...

The first achievement highlighted today by the Prime Minister in his Sunday Times article was deficit reduction: "We've got the deficit down by a quarter already". This statement is true. But what the Prime Minister didn't say was that the economic outlook the Prime Minister inherited was for precisely this pace of deficit reduction.
16/07/2012 08:35 BST