A think-tank report examined the United Kingdom's economic performance following the recent economic downturn, and outlined policy issues that would need to be resolved in order to aid productivity and growth.
Source: Nida Broughton and Ben Richards, Growing Businesses: Britain's productivity challenge, Social Market Foundation
A think-tank report examined the concerns raised by business leaders and regional politicians regarding the possible implications if the United Kingdom left the European Union. Concerns raised included: the loss of access to European Union markets; the effects of disruption and uncertainty during the exit phase; loss of access to funding and subsidies, particularly for sectors such as agriculture, fishing, engineering, and the Welsh regions; the potential loss of influence over trade deals and future regulations; and the implications for accessing labour markets and, in particular, the potential loss of rapid access to skilled migrants. The report said that the government would need to plan for such impacts ahead of any exit, and made recommendations.
Source: Jonathan Lindsell, Softening the Blow: Who gains from the EU and how they can survive Brexit, Civitas
A report said that benefits from the growth of technology firms were predominantly concentrated in and around London and the south east of England, and proposed that 'clusters' (geographic concentrations of interconnected companies and institutions in a particular field) were the most effective way of boosting the technology sector across the country. The report said there were challenges facing northern towns and cities, and made recommendations to boost the growth of technology clusters in the north, including: directly elected mayors with devolved powers to lead economic growth in their areas; investment in rail and road infrastructure to connect northern towns and cities; and encouraging universities to allow students to retain the intellectual property of products or services they created while studying (to help retain entrepreneurs in the local area).
Source: Eddie Copeland and Cameron Scott, Silicon Cities: Supporting the development of tech clusters outside London and the South East of England, Policy Exchange
Two reports were published, reviewing the European System of Financial Supervision, following a planned review of the functioning of the new supervisory architecture, which was put in place in 2011 as part of the response to the financial crisis. One report examined the operation of the European Supervisory Authorities (the European Banking Authority, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority, and the European Securities and Markets Authority). The second report examined the mission and organization of the European Systemic Risk Board.
Source: Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the Operation of the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAS) and the European System of Financial Supervision (ESFS), European Commission
Source: Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the Mission and Organisation of the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB), European Commission
A think-tank report examined the business environment in Germany, and considered whether there were lessons to be learned for the United Kingdom.
Source: Christopher Simpson, The Environment for Business in Germany: A commentary, Civitas
A paper examined recent economic and labour market developments in Scotland, and the future outlook for the country, including the principal short and long-term labour market challenges and opportunities. The paper discussed key Scottish Government priorities, and argued that Scottish independence would provide greater opportunity to build a new economic framework.
Source: Unlocking Scotland's Full Potential: Boosting skills, wages, equality and growth, Scottish Government
A report said that on measures of skills levels, the United Kingdom was being outperformed by other developed countries (especially for younger people). It said that over one-quarter of firms in the United Kingdom faced additional costs, delayed business expansion, and lost business as a result of skills shortages. It said there were persistent pockets of skills deficiency, but also around 4.3 million workers who were employed in jobs below their skill levels. The report outlined policy implications, arguing that the United Kingdom needed to ensure the involvement of employers in the provision of skills and training so that the mismatch between skills supply and demand was limited.
Source: The Labour Market Story: The state of UK skills, UK Commission for Employment and Skills
A report examined the United Kingdom economy and made recommendations for reforms to boost innovation, tackle skills shortages, address youth unemployment, support growth companies, and empower city and county regions. This was the final report of the Adonis review.
Source: Andrew Adonis, Mending the Fractured Economy: Smarter state, better jobs, Policy Network
The government responded to a report by a committee of peers on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a trade agreement that was being negotiated between the European Union and the United States with the broad stated aim of removing trade barriers in a wide range of economic sectors.
Source: The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, Cm 8907, House of Lords European Union Select Committee, TSO
The government published its strategic plan for the British Business Bank, describing how it was being set up, how it operated, and its main areas of activity. The plan reported on recent progress and developments, and discussed the main financial, risk, and other considerations.
Source: British Business Bank: Strategic Plan June 2014, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
A paper examined how, in an independent Scotland, future governments could reindustrialise the economy through a strategy focussed on strengthening manufacturing, promoting innovation, and encouraging international trade and investment.
Source: Reindustrialising Scotland for the 21st Century: A sustainable industrial strategy for a modern, independent nation, Scottish Government
A paper examined the outlook for Scotland's public finances and the financial implications of Scottish independence. It said that the public finances of Scotland would be substantially stronger if the country remained as part of the United Kingdom. The paper said that lower taxes and sustained public services as part of the United Kingdom would be worth around £1400 per person per year over the twenty years following 2016-17. The Scottish Government, on the same day, published a report that examined fiscal forecasts for an independent Scotland, and said that the powers of independence could be used to grow the economy, such that revenues could increase by £5 billion per year by 2029-30.
Source: Scotland Analysis: Fiscal policy and sustainability, Cm 8854, HM Treasury, TSO
Links: Report | HMT/Scotland Office press release | Chief Secretary's speech | Scottish Government report | Scottish Government press release | SNP press release | SNP press release | LSE blog | BBC report | BBC report | BBC report | Guardian report | Telegraph report
A think-tank report examined the advantages gained through Britain's membership of the European Union. It said that there had been no positive impact on trade with other members, and outlined a range of findings, including: that British exports to EU members had grown more slowly than those of many non-EU countries; that UK trade with European nations outside the EU had increased dramatically; and that there was no evidence that the influence of the EU had helped to secure more free trade agreements.
Source: Michael Burrage, Where's The Insider Advantage? A comparative study of UK exports to EU and non-EU nations between 1960 and 2012, Civitas
A report examined recent trends in Scotland's public finances and the fiscal position of Scotland in coming years. It said that Scotland would have a sustainable fiscal position in 2016-17, with key fiscal aggregates similar to, or stronger than, both the United Kingdom and the G7 group of industrialized countries as a whole. The report examined a range of economic projections and said that, by using powers of independence to grow the economy, Scotland's revenues could increase by £5 billion per year by 2029-30. The United Kingdom Government published, on the same day, a Treasury paper that examined fiscal policy and sustainability in an independent Scotland, and said that Scotland's public finances would be stronger if the country remained as part of the UK.
Source: Outlook for Scotland's Public Finances and the Opportunities of Independence, Scottish Government
Links: Report | Scottish Government press release | UK Treasury report | HM Treasury/Scotland Office press release | SNP press release | SNP press release | LSE blog | BBC report | BBC report | BBC report | Guardian report | Telegraph report
A report by a committee of peers said that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (a proposed bilateral deal between the European Union and the United States of America) was the most ambitious trade and investment pact ever attempted, due to its scale and to its approach in addressing non-tariff trade barriers, which could 'set the template' for future trade and investment agreements. The report said that the outcome was significant for employment and growth in the United Kingdom, and that the government had a pivotal role in taking this forward within the European Union.
Source: The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, 14th Report (Session 201314), HL 179, House of Lords European Union Select Committee, TSO
A report examined the implications of Scottish independence for businesses. It set out a number of benefits, costs and risks for Scottish businesses in four areas: funding costs; corporation tax; trade; and private pensions. It concluded that, although an independent Scottish economy could thrive, and the overall impact would vary by sector and size of business, there would be one off and ongoing costs and uncertainties and fewer, more uncertain, benefits.
Source: The Potential Implications of Independence for Businesses in Scotland, Oxford Economics
A new book examined austerity policies in Europe and the United States of America, arguing that policies had fuelled recession rather than stimulated growth. It discussed organized opposition, and proposed alternative economic, regulatory, and organizational reforms.
Source: Dexter Whitfield, Unmasking Austerity: Opposition and alternatives in Europe and North America, Spokesman Books
A think-tank report examined the role that small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) could play in promoting full employment, and the support they needed to achieve this. It made a range of recommendations, including: for greater business support to help meet the costs involved, and learning needed, when taking on a first employee; to reform the system of statutory sick pay to reduce the potential liabilities that SMEs faced; to facilitate a role for SMEs in providing temporary work placements under the work programme; and to introduce a business-led insurance scheme for SMEs, offering occupational benefits such as maternity and sick pay in return for regular contributions.
Source: Spencer Thompson, Small Firms, Giant Leaps: Small businesses and the road to full employment, Institute for Public Policy Research
The government published a database of Budget and Autumn Statement policy measures announced since 1970.
Source: Office for Budget Responsibility
A paper examined ways to measure the economic well-being of the United Kingdom, and the shortcomings of using gross domestic product (national income). It proposed a set of seven additional indicators, to be used as a 'dashboard', alongside national income, to assess changes in the various dimensions of economic well-being.
Source: Jawed Khan and James Calver, Measuring National Well-being: Economic well-being, Office for National Statistics
A new book examined the constitutional framework for management of the United Kingdom economy. It examined different meanings of an economic constitution, areas of economic management, key institutions, and the international context, and considered the coherence, governance, and accountability of economic management in the UK.
Source: Tony Prosser, The Economic Constitution, Oxford University Press
An article examined the causal linkage between housing assets and small business investment and the economy. It discussed the reductions in both small business investment and mortgage lending to business owners since 2008.
Source: Darja Reuschke and Duncan Maclennan, 'Housing assets and small business investment: exploring links for theory and policy', Regional Studies, Volume 48 Number 4
A government department published its response to the Witty review of the role of universities in driving economic growth in the United Kingdom.
Source: British Invention: Global Impact – The government's response to Sir Andrew Witty's review of universities and growth, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
A report said that the existing system of economic measures, based around gross domestic product, inflation, and employment, should be replaced. It outlined proposals for 20 alternative measures of economic progress in the United Kingdom.
Source: Andrew Harrop and Robert Tinker, Measure for Measure: Economic indicators for a fair and prosperous society, Fabian Society
The coalition government presented its 2014 Budget statement. National income growth forecasts had been revised upwards from 2.4 per cent to 2.7 per cent in 2014 and from 2.2 per cent to 2.3 per cent in 2015, with forecasts of 2.6 per cent in 2016, 2.6 per cent in 2017 and 2.5 per cent in 2018. The public sector net debt had been revised downwards, to peak at 78.7 per cent of national income in 2015-16 before falling year on year to 2018-19. The main Budget measures included:
Government departments required to find year on year efficiency savings, with cuts of £119 billion in 2015-16;
Welfare cap set at £119.5 billion for 2015-16 with year on year increases to 2018-19 (to be included in the Charter for Budget Responsibility);
Expansion of the Troubled Families programme in 2014-15;
Increase in childcare costs cap to £10,000 per annum per child, against which up to 20 per cent of costs could be claimed by parents, or 85 per cent if parents paid income tax and were on universal credit (this had been previously announced, but was confirmed in the Budget);
ï¿½ Additional early years premium funding for schools (this had been previously announced, but was confirmed in the Budget);
Increase in personal tax allowance to £10,500 from 2015 and increase in National Minimum Wage to £6.50 in October 2014;
ï¿½ New ISA provisions, with an increase in the annual limit to £15,000; new government savings bonds for over 65s; increased limits for Premium Savings Bonds; proposed removal of the requirement for defined contribution pension funds to be converted to annuities; and changes to taxation of pensions (a consultation paper on pensions was published alongside the Budget);
Doubling of the annual investment allowance for companies, changes to export funding, and additional funding for apprenticeships;
Energy-related measures, including: changes to the carbon price support cap; support for carbon capture and storage, oil, and gas initiatives; and compensation for energy costs for energy intensive industries;
Infrastructure measures, including: funding for repairs to flood defences and roads; government guarantee for the Mersey Gateway Bridge; funding via a gain share mechanism for Greater Cambridge transport and infrastructure proposals; and grants for cathedral repairs; and
ï¿½ Housing measures, including: extension of the Help to Buy equity loan scheme to March 2020; loans for smaller developers and a repayable funding scheme for self-build; loan funding for regeneration of large housing estates; and a new garden city at Ebbsfleet, Kent (this had been previously announced, but was confirmed in the Budget).
Source: Budget 2014, HC 1104, HM Treasury, TSO
Links related to Budget: Report | Fiscal outlook | Overview of taxation measures | Speech | Pensions consultation | HMT press release 1 | HM Treasury press release 2 | DCLG press release | Northern Ireland Office press release | Scotland Office press release | Wales Office press release | Welsh Government press release | 4Children press release | Age UK press release | Action for Children press release | Barnardos press release | BCC press release | Childrens Society press release | CPAG press release | CPAG Scotland press release | CIH press release | Fawcett Society press release | Gingerbread press release | IEA press release | IFS analysis | LGA press release 1 | LGA press release 2 | LGA press release 3 | Oxfam press release | Plaid Cymru press release | PwC press release | RCGP press release | Unite press release | BBC report 1 | BBC report 2 | Guardian report 1 | Guardian report 2 | Guardian report 3 | Inside Housing report | Inside Housing report 2 | New Statesman report | Telegraph report
Links related to childcare and pupil premium announcements: Government consultation response | Written ministerial statement | Barnardos press release | Citizens Advice press release | CBI press release | Gingerbread press release | IFS comment | JRF press release | NCT press release | BBC report | Guardian report | New Statesman report | Telegraph report
A paper examined the implications of Scottish independence for the financial services industry in Scotland.
Source: Referendum on Scottish Independence ï¿½ A briefing paper for members of Scottish Financial Enterprise (SFE) on the implications for the Scottish financial services industry, Scottish Financial Enterprise
A report examined the Scottish Government's economic plan for independence. It said that the plan did not offer a coherent economic vision, and did not address issues of deficit reduction. It raised concerns about the uncertainty over Scotland's future relationship with the European Union, a range of potential impacts on Scottish business, and the lack of clarity over the continued use of sterling as currency. It concluded that Scotland would benefit from remaining part of the United Kingdom.
Source: The Scottish Government's Plans for Independence: An analysis from business, Confederation of British Industry
The government began consultation on the balance of competences between the United Kingdom and European Union in the areas of economic and monetary policy. The consultation would close on 4 July 2014.
Source: Economic and Monetary Policy: Call for evidence, HM Treasury
A report by a committee of peers said that the four pillars of 'genuine economic and monetary union', as proposed by the European Commission (banking union, fiscal union, closer economic policy integration, and enhanced democratic oversight) presented both political and operational difficulties. The United Kingdom government had stated that it would not participate, but the report recommended that some elements of closer banking union should be considered in the future and that the government should be strongly involved in any plans. The committee would consider issues of democratic legitimacy and the role of national parliaments in a forthcoming report.
Source: ï¿½Genuine Economic and Monetary Unionï¿½ and the Implications for the UK, 8th Report (Session 201314), HL 134, House of Lords European Union Select Committee, TSO
The government published further reports from its ongoing review of the European Union's competences, and how they affected the United Kingdom, which the Foreign Secretary had launched in July 2012.
Source: Review of the Balance of Competences between the United Kingdom and the European Union: Single Market – Free movement of goods, HM Revenue & Customs
Source: Review of the Balance of Competences between the United Kingdom and the European Union: Asylum and non-EU migration, Home Office
Source: Review of the Balance of Competences between the United Kingdom and the European Union: Trade and investment, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Source: Review of the Balance of Competences between the United Kingdom and the European Union: Environment and climate change, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Source: Review of the Balance of Competences between the United Kingdom and the European Union: Transport, Department for Transport
Source: Review of the Balance of Competences between the United Kingdom and the European Union: Research and development, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Source: Review of the Balance of Competences between the United Kingdom and the European Union: Culture, tourism and sport, Department for Culture, Media and Sport
Source: Review of the Balance of Competences between the United Kingdom and the European Union: Civil judicial cooperation, Ministry of Justice
A government paper examined the implications of independence for Scotland's economy and how this would impact on Scotland's macroeconomic framework choices, including its choice of currency. It discussed the impact of currency union (where Scotland retained sterling as its currency) for the rest of the United Kingdom and concluded that the Treasury would advise the UK government against entering into a currency union with an independent Scotland.
Source: Scotland Analysis: Assessment of a sterling currency union, Cm 8815, HM Treasury, TSO
A report examined government contracting with small business. It called for government to establish a new Small Business Administration within the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, to promote state contracting with smaller firms and assist departments to meet three key objectives: increase the value of government procurement with small and medium sized businesses; scale up the Small Business Research Initiative; and increase levels of awareness and satisfaction with key government support and finance schemes. The report would feed into the ongoing independent growth review for the Labour Party.
Source: Andrew Adonis, Contracts Not Hand-Outs: The case for a UK Small Business Administration to drive growth and innovation, Policy Network