It is hard to take Sunak’s jobs plan seriously

At some point, Rishi Sunak is going to need to pick a lane. There is only so long that the Chancellor can claim to believe that excessive borrowing is immoral while borrowing to such excess. His trick yesterday was to make all the right noises about restraint while unrolling a £500 million ‘plan for jobs’. Take away his earnest delivery and it’s still not clear whether he’s the boozer at the bar telling the world about the dangers of alcoholism, or the sensible friend ordering the taxi home. Let’s be fair. Sunak has had to deal with exceptional circumstances in the last 18 months, and is taking steps to cease

Has the Bank of England given up on its duty?

Has the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee quietly excused itself from its duty of keeping inflation down: namely, keeping the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) close to a 2 per cent target? I ask because the minutes of its September meeting, released today, show little inclination to raise rates from their historic low of 0.1 percent, even though it predicts that inflation will rise above 4 per cent and stay there at least into the second quarter of 2022.  The MPC seems to have evolved into a Committee for Leaving Interest Rates Alone or Occasionally Lowering Them You can argue that inflation isn’t everything, that growth matters more and that monetary policy should

Green bonds offer nothing but virtue-pleasing

Would you touch a ‘green gilt’ issued by the government, with an interest rate of just 0.87 per cent? Some people, apparently, would. The Treasury announced yesterday that it had shifted the first £10 billion tranche of ‘green gilts’ to raise finance for projects such as zero-carbon buses, wind farms and other green things. Indeed, the bond – which matures in 2033 – was ten times oversubscribed. The government had already planned to issue a further £5 billion, and might now be encouraged to issue far more. Green gilts are just more government borrowing, rebranded to make lending to the government look virtuous With the government’s preferred measure of inflation,