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Monthly Archives: February 2011

How does UK productivity compare?

Latest, revised estimates for 2009 show that the UK’s productivity level, when measured on a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per worker basis, was well below the G7 level and over 30% below the US performance, according to the Office for National Statistics. Whilst our productivity was higher than Japan’s, and broadly similar to Canada and Germany, it was below France, … Continue reading

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House building crumbles

Only 102,570 new homes were completed in 2010, which was 13% down on the previous year, and the lowest level during peacetime since 1923. And, this is at a time when the country is experiencing a severe housing shortage. Projections for the number of new houses needed show that no less than 232,000 new homes need to be built in … Continue reading

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Rail travel at its highest level since the 1920s

No less than 1.32 billion passenger journeys were made by train in 2010, which was a rise of 6.9% on 2009 and 37% up on 2000, according to the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC). In fact, passengers travelled a record 33.3 billion miles by train, as the industry bounced back successfully from the recession. This number of passengers being … Continue reading

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Improvement in public sector finances

Public sector net borrowing in January 2011, showed a surplus of £3.7 billion compared with a deficit of £1.3 billion in the same month last year. Traditionally the country does show a surplus during January as a result of a lot of income tax and corporation tax bills being paid, but these figures are a vast improvement on last year. … Continue reading

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How can Africa’s agriculture boost development through trade?

Why has Africa become a net food importer? This was the question raised by Pascal Lamy, director general of the World Trade Organisation, at a conference entitled “Harnessing Agriculture for Development through Trade” yesterday. This conference was based on a publication produced by the CUTS International resource centre. Lamy pointed out that Africa became a net-food importer in the 1980s, … Continue reading

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Is the jump in retail sales merely an illusion?

The volume of retail sales rose by 1.9% in January compared to the previous month, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This was after the December figure was revised downwards from an earlier estimate of a fall of 0.8% to a corrected figure of minus 1.4%. This was the biggest December fall since records began. When we examine … Continue reading

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The UK’s Inflation Problem: Selling England by the Pound?

This is the title of a speech which Andrew Sentence, of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee has just given. He is diametrically opposed to Mervyn King’s analysis of the current situation, believing that current levels of inflation are not temporary; that interest rates need to be raised; and, that in not taking action now the Bank is putting … Continue reading

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Economic growth slows amongst OECD countries

Figures just released in Paris at lunchtime today show that gross domestic product (GDP) in the OECD area grew by 0.4% in the fourth quarter of 2010, down from the 0.6% growth recorded in the previous quarter. GDP contracted by 0.3% in Japan and by 0.5% in the United Kingdom in the fourth quarter of 2010. In Japan the slowdown … Continue reading

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UK unemployment increases again

More bad news! Unemployment has risen, following on from yesterday’s rise in prices. Unemployment rose by 44,000 to reach almost 2.5 million in the three months to the end of December, according to statistics published by the Office for National Statistics earlier today. This gave an unemployment rate of 7.9%, which was up 0.1% on the quarter. The unemployment rate … Continue reading

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Inflation continues to climb

CPI annual inflation was 4.0% in January, rising from 3.7% in December, according to figures released by the ONS today. The ONS said that: “Two of the main factors that had an impact on the January data are the increase in the standard rate of Value Added Tax (VAT) to 20 per cent and the continued increase in the price … Continue reading

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