• Thursday, November 26, 2015 - 10:16

    By David Robinson

    LONDON (MNI) - The Institute for Fiscal Studies said that, contrary to some press headlines, austerity is still going strong in the UK and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne's luck will need to hold if he is to achieve his goal of an overall budget surplus by end 2019-20.

    Osborne unveiled his Autumn Statement Wednesday and it showed lower debt interest payments and forecast modelling changes providing a substantial boost to the public finances in coming years. He slowed the planned pace of spending cuts but the IFS pointed out that these cuts are still substantial.

    The IFS also warned that future forecast changes could well be larger than Wednesday's and the impact is as likely be negative as positive.

    "This is not the end of 'austerity'.

  • Wednesday, November 25, 2015 - 09:55

    -OBR: BOE Guidance Change To Cut Debt Payments, Up Net Debt

    LONDON (MNI) - The Bank of England's new guidance on when it is likely to unwind quantitative easing helped the Office for Budget Responsibility to cut its forecasts for future debt interest payments.

    The OBR's detailed figures underpinning the Autumn Statement, released Wednesday, showed how lower debt interest payments, due to both lower projected gilt yields and the BOE's forecast changes, helped Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne balance the books before the public finances move into surplus by 2019-20.

    The OBR said projected debt interest payments were "significantly lower than in July (its prior forecast)."

    It said this was because market expectations for Bank Rate and gilt

  • Wednesday, November 25, 2015 - 09:06

    LONDON (MNI) - UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced several measures to boost supply in the UK housing market, a market which some Bank of England policymakers fear may become a risk to financial stability.

    Announcing new tax measures as part of his Autumn statement, Osborne also back-tracked on making cuts to working tax credits, while boosting resources for intelligence agencies, as had been widely expected following the attacks in Paris.

    "We are announcing further reforms to our planning system so it delivers more homes more quickly.

  • Wednesday, November 25, 2015 - 08:28

    LONDON (MNI) - Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said that the UK is on course to meet its budget surplus goal by 2019-20, despite overall debt levels being revised higher due to backwardly applied changes in National Statistics accounting methods.

    Announcing new forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility alongside his Autumn Statement, Osborne announced that UK public finances will now include the borrowing incurred by housing associations in England, leading to upward back revisions to debt levels from 2008 onwards.

    Unveiling the new Public Sector Net Borrowing forecasts, ex-financial interventions, Osborne said that borrowing for this financial year, 2015-16, would be Stg73.5bn, higher than the original non-housing association Stg69.5bn forecast in th

  • Tuesday, November 24, 2015 - 04:55

    -MPC Saying QE To Be Topped-up Until Rates Around 2% Boost To Finances

    LONDON (MNI) - Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne's battle to balance the books in Wednesday's Autumn Statement seems to have been aided by the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee's new found clarity on its approach to its stock of asset purchases.

    In the November Inflation Report, the MPC spelled out its approach to handling its stg375 billion stock of asset purchases, revealing that it would maintain this stock until Bank Rate had risen to around 2%, providing a nice little saving on debt interest payments for Osborne.

    The Office for Budget Responsibility had based its previous debt interest forecasts on the assumption that once Bank Rate started to rise the MPC would