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Monthly Archives: July 2009

Four-to-one gap between rich and poor in UK

The tax and benefit system is obviously working in the UK to redistribute income between the rich and poor, but is it working well enough?   When we look at original income, that is income received before the impact of tax and benefits, the top 20% of households in the UK in 2007-08 received approximately 16 times more than the … Continue reading

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Women still held back in the workforce

The Women and Work Commission was established five years ago to put forward ideas on how the gender pay gap could be reduced and published a major report three years ago. Yesterday, they put forward an assessment of progress to date. The report said: “…while progress has been made in some important areas, much more can and should be done … Continue reading

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First rise in house prices since January 2008

House prices rose in June by 0.1% compared to the previous month according to figures released yesterday by the Land Registry. This is the first time that the monthly change has been positive since January 2008.   There have been occasional months recently when both the Halifax and the Nationwide indices have shown an increase in house prices. However, both … Continue reading

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Is recession impacting UK crime figures?

In general last year most crime categories fell or were stable. However, there were significant increases in fraud, forgery and shoplifting, according to the British Crime Survey published by the Home Office.   This may be revealing the “green shoots” of an increasing crime spree. As more people have to cope with unemployment and poverty and firms find themselves on … Continue reading

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GDP declines for fifth quarter running

Preliminary figures for the second quarter of 2009 show that UK GDP fell by 0.8%. This compares with a decrease of 2.4% in the first quarter.  Most forecasts were surprised by the drop as many had been expecting a fall of about 0.3%.   This means that the UK economy has now contracted for the fifth consecutive quarter and has … Continue reading

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EU immigrants: Are they a benefit to the UK?

The answer is a resounding “yes” according to research just published by the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM) at University College London. They analysed immigrants from the so-called A8 countries from Central and Eastern Europe, which joined the EU in May 2004. These countries include the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Poland.   … Continue reading

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Record level of government debt

UK public sector net debt reached a total of £799bn in June 2009, compared to £641.4bn in the same month last year, and was the highest level since records began in 1974. This outstanding debt amounted to 56.5% of Gross Domestic Product, which compares with 44.4% in June 2008. When the intervention in the financial sector is excluded, net debt … Continue reading

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Swine flu and the economy

Apologies to everyone following my blog, but yes, I came down with swine flu last week. I’m not apologising for being ill, just for not being able to continue blogging.   If you haven’t caught it yet I can only say it was a lot better than when I had glandular fever. Worst symptoms were a temperature that spiked at … Continue reading

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Poorest countries need to adopt a new approach

The UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) has just published its “Least Developed Countries Report 2009”, which looks at the world’s 49 poorest countries.   The report says the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) need to focus macroeconomic policy on building up both the productive capacity of their economies and infrastructure. Also, they need to ensure that their fledgling banking … Continue reading

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Inflation down and production up in EU

Inflation in the sixteen countries making up the Euro area was -0.1% in June, which was down from 0.0% in May. Twelve months ago the inflation rate stood at 4.0%. In the wider EU27 annual inflation was 0.6% in June 2009, which was down from 0.8% in May. Twelve months earlier the figure was 4.3%.   There is still a … Continue reading

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