Image: NEW STATESMAN - Philip Hammond poses for the cameras in Downing St ahead of the Budget / Huff post
It’s true that the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, was able to produce a few headline-grabbing giveaways, especially around housing, an issue which the Prime Minister has pledged to take “personal charge” of solving. Cue an apparent injection of £44bn into housebuilding designed to see 300,000 new homes per year delivered by the middle of the next decade.
And those looking to buy a home received the welcome news that purchases below £300,000 will no longer attract Stamp Duty. Elsewhere, largesse was more muted. An extra £2.8bn for the NHS was almost immediately criticised by health service bosses as woefully inadequate and jarred next to the £3bn set aside to deal with Brexit-related costs. The irony will not have been lost.
But try as he might, the Chancellor found it impossible to hide from the swingeing downgrades to the UK’s economic growth prospects from the oft-labelled “independent” Office for Budget Responsibility. The OBR laid the blame for the slowdown in Britain’s GDP rises over the coming years on sluggish productivity, which is set to hit tax revenues.
You can here the full article here
The independent review on The Economics of Biodiversity led by Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta has now been delivered to the government. The report underlines our failure to grasp that our economies are “embedded within Nature, and not external to it.” We rely on nature to “provide us with food, water and shelter; regulate our climate and disease; maintain nutrient cycles and oxygen production; and provide us with spiritual fulfilment and opportunities for recreation and recuperation which can enhance our health and well-being.”Read More
On 4 August 2020, a massive explosion at Beirut’s port killed at least 200 people and caused up to $15bn in damage to buildings and infrastructure – including the destruction of the public electricity company building. It was the latest blow for a country battling a 30-year energy crisis and facing chronic shortages as a result of an ageing infrastructure based around fossil fuels.Read More
In 1945, the UK’s welfare state was set up to address the want, need and misery caused by unemployment. Seventy-five years later, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, we had almost full employment in the UK – and yet we still have massive levels of poverty and precarity experienced by people in work.Read More