Corbyn’s half-baked plan to raise the minimum wage for under 18s

My fellow sixteen year olds can’t vote, but that doesn’t stop us being the target of Jeremy Corbyn’s magnanimity. His latest idea: to make sure we are paid the same as adults. So he proposes raising the minimum wage for everyone, including those under the age of 18, to £10 an hour. You can see the superficial appeal. Gone are the days of £5 an hour work. Thanks to Corbyn, a £20 top will take two hours of work to buy, as opposed to four. Which 16 or 17 year old could complain at that? But in reality, the idea isn’t so good. When applying for work, we’re not just

Fact check: is Huawei really contributing £1.7bn to the UK economy?

Huawei is nothing if not inventive in its efforts to land the contract to run Britain’s forthcoming 5G mobile phone network. This morning it has published a report by the Oxford Economics Group which claims that the company added £1.7 billion to Britain’s GDP and accounted for 26,200 UK jobs in 2018. It is an eye-catching figure, but should it really influence government ministers as they weigh up the advantages of giving Huawei the contract against the security risks of handing parts of our telecommunications infrastructure to a company connected with the Chinese government? You have to have a little imagination to get to the figure of £1.7 billion and 26,200

Ross Clark

How do the Project Fear prophets explain the good news about Britain’s economy?

Of course, we shouldn’t read too much into a set of good economic figures when they are so obviously down to stockpiling ahead of Brexit. If GDP rose by 0.5 per cent in the first three months of 2019 it was only thanks to all that condensed milk we have all stacked in the understairs cupboard – that and the riot helmets we all went out and bought in case of a hard Brexit and the marauding masses trying to break into houses in order to pilfer our said emergency store.   Yet you might think that hardened Remainers could just admit to a tiny of nugget of good news in

Rory Sutherland

Britain is good at infrastructure. It’s the bureaucracy which holds things up

In 2012 I finished a meeting in Berlin and headed to Tegel airport. Apparently mine was a historic flight, since the airport was to close that very week. Future flights would soon land at the wondrous new Berlin Brandenburg airport, which would be opening ‘within months’. Seven years later, planes still fly into Tegel. The new airport may open in 2020 or 2021; no one knows. So far, the project has cost €9 billion, triple the original estimate. The roof is 100 per cent overweight. All the electrical wiring may need replacing. The escalators were too short, so end not at floor level but on an ersatz plinth. Underneath, empty trains

Martin Vander Weyer

Sainsbury’s just needs a good grocer

Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe faces a fight for his job after the Competition and Markets Authority ruled against his proposed £12 billion merger with Asda that would have created a supermarket giant bigger than Tesco and supposedly better equipped to face down the discounters Aldi and Lidl. The CMA said the deal would have harmed competition and pushed up prices, ignoring Coupe’s claims to the contrary. Investors were also unconvinced, having endured limp profits and a downward–drifting share price during Coupe’s five-year tenure. The truth about Sainsbury’s is that its success was built on the dedicated ‘retail is detail’ focus of its founding family: that’s also how Coupe’s predecessor,

It’s capitalism, not socialism, that will beat climate change

When John Glenn was asked what went through his mind as he became the first American in space, he said it was the nerve-wracking thought that ‘every part of this rocket was supplied by the lowest bidder.’ It’s a revealing insight. Perhaps even more so than the ‘Blue Marble’ photograph of Earth taken by Apollo 17 astronauts, which inspired early environmentalists. Glenn was acknowledging that market economics made it possible for a government to achieve Herculean feats. True, the Soviets were in the race too, but then their system collapsed completely. Capitalism has staying power – and that’s what we need now in the fight against climate change. The UK’s

Beware of financial products described as ‘innovative’ or frictionless

Over the last few years a steady stream of new financial firms have launched products and services meant to make our lives a little bit easier. Often described as innovative or frictionless, some of these products could improve our financial health, while others look set to deliver a dose of pain. And as more innovative and frictionless products and services come to market, there’s one word that we don’t tend to hear so much about: wisdom. Financial firms have been busy removing friction from their processes in order to make things easier, but when it comes to themes like consumer credit or pension freedom, is this always a good thing?

‘Brexperts’ can earn £80 an hour explaining Brexit to those who are confused

Due to several requests from befuddled citizens, the professional marketplace, Bidvine, are on the lookout for Brexit experts who can assist the public in getting to grips with the ever-changing topic of Brexit. Self-confessed experts could be paid as much as £80 an hour. People struggling to get their heads around Brexit can soon enlist the services of self-confessed ‘Brexperts’ to explain it to them, with those who have much to teach on the topic being able to set their own prices up to £80. The search for experts has been set up by the professional marketplace in response to multiple requests from users searching for a Brexit breakdown on

Why Britain’s pubs are disappearing

It’s not much comfort, if you like pubs, that the rate at which they’re closing across the UK has fallen from 138 per month for the past several years to 76 per month in 2018; small consolation too that this is partly the result of a rare example of government policy working — in the form of business-rate reliefs designed to help pubs survive as hubs of community life. But the truth is that having lost more than 11,000 of them since the turn of the century, we’ve also largely lost the habit of spending our spare cash in them. How much better it would be for the economy, for

10 ways students can make extra money when home for the summer holiday

When summer arrives and you’re faced with the beautiful reality of endless weeks in the sunshine (OK, wishful thinking), instead of lectures and assignments, it makes sense to try to use that time wisely; and maybe even make some money in the process to have an even better summer with., the student discount app, has very kindly come up with some top tips for students looking to make their bank balance look a bit healthier this summer. 1.      Sell some belongings  Whether it’s clothes, shoes, gadgets, furniture or antiques, if you no longer need or use something, then why not look to sell it.  You know what they say;

Matthew Lynn

Jeremy Corbyn is wrong: we don’t need any more bank holidays

The sunshine was glorious. There was a new episode of Game of Thrones to watch in the middle of the night, and everyone seems to have forgotten about Brexit for a while. As bank holiday weekends go, it was a pretty good one. Under a Labour government, however, it would have been even better. Instead of going back to work, today would have been the St George’s Day holiday and we could all have slept in for another twenty-four hours. The trouble is, lots more state-directed time off is the last thing the British economy needs. Indeed, in a deregulated, flexible gig economy it is debatable whether we need bank

Fretting over ‘land inequality’ is a waste of time

As if the nation is not already mired in enough scandal, now comes the revelation that half the land in England is owned by just 25,000 individuals and organisations (1% of the population!). How wrong and elitist that sounds when placed beneath a Guardian headline which implies it is a yet another measure of horrible inequality and deprivation. According to Labour MP John Trickett “The dramatic concentration of land ownership is an inescapable reminder that ours is a country for the few and not the many”. But it means nothing at all. We are not an agrarian society. Fewer than one per cent of the population are employed in agriculture.

Best Buys: Travel credit cards

If you’re going away this Easter and are on a budget, it makes sense to ensure your money goes as far as it possibly can. One way of doing this is to use the most cost-effective credit card that you can. Here are some of the best travel credit cards on the market at the moment – from data supplied by

What did Japan make of Jeremy Hunt’s Brexit mission? 

Attempting to explain Brexit in 90 seconds might remind you of a Monty Python sketch, but this is what Jeremy Hunt attempted in front of a class of Japanese high school students on Monday. The foreign secretary gave a carefully worded summary of the Brexit situation using the graded language of the English language teacher he used to be. It’s not clear whether the students were any the wiser after he spoke, but the real aim of the lesson was achieved: to generate positive headlines for the Foreign Secretary on his latest visit to Japan. Hunt has some advantages. He lived in Japan in his early 20s, mastered the language and

General de Gaulle was wrong about Britain joining the EEC

In his famous speech to both Houses of Parliament in March 1960, General de Gaulle praised Britain: ‘Although, since 1940, you have gone through the hardest vicissitudes in your history, only four statesmen [Churchill, Attlee, Eden and Macmillan] have guided your affairs in these extraordinary years. Thus, lacking meticulously worked-out constitutional texts, but by virtue of an unchallengeable general consent, you find the means on each occasion to ensure the efficient functioning of democracy.’ De Gaulle admired us and disliked us, and concluded that we threatened France if we joined the EEC. So he blocked our entry. He was right about us, wrong about the effect of our joining. By

Will France cut taxes and boost the economy in response to the protests?

For 21 weeks now the Gilets Jaunes have taken to the streets of French cities to protest. It began as a demonstration against high and rising fuel taxes. These tax increases hit families getting children to school and the adults to work, and cut the earnings of the self-employed working from their vans and cars. The higher fuel taxes and slower speed limits were part of President Macron’s policy to curb carbon dioxide emissions. For his trouble the protesters put out of action a majority of the speed cameras, showing him what they thought of his wish to control their lives. The street actions have been stoked by some angry