When a Chancellor’s room for manoeuvre in the Budget is highly constrained, what emerges tends towards the predictable. Wednesday’s Autumn 2017 Budget is a case in point. Economic outlook The downgrade to economic growth forecasts by the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) was severe, and could have profound long-term consequences. But it was hardly surprising … More A predictable Budget for business taxes
As Philip Hammond prepares for his Budget on Wednesday, he faces a daunting set of constraints, both economic and political. The economic side On the economic side, the news since the March Budget has not been universally bad. Tax receipts are higher than forecast, while spending is lower, leading to a reduction in debt. However, it is … More What might we expect for business taxes in the Autumn Budget?
Three stories on tax and multinationals hit the press last week. They attracted varying levels of attention – from BBC news headlines to erudite debates on the tax Twittersphere – and were of varying degrees of importance. As usual there was, if anything, an inverse correlation between their importance and the noise they generated. But … More Three stories on tax and multinationals: are we losing our collective memory?
6 years ago, in October 2011, Ellie Knott took me to Transylvania. We had been travelling to Europe together for years: from Disneyland Paris, through the red-light districts of Lyons, Cologne and Berlin (“mother, don’t stand on the street corner”), to cocktail bars in Madrid, Krakow and Aix (where “Madame et Mademoiselle” became “Mesdames” around … More Where the rooves have eyes: 2 days in Sibiu
My interest in continued fractions was sparked by working out how to knit the stars in the EU flag earlier this year. It turned out that 13/15 was a remarkably good approximation for √3/2, which was crucial for placing the stars. While exploring the world of continued fractions, I came across a reference to a … More Powers of the golden ratio
Since my first knitting blog in March, I’ve been occupied with a much bigger project: a “log-cabin” blanket. The log-cabin design is based on traditional American quilting, translated into knitting: each square panel in the blanket is built up from a series of “logs” around a reddish central square, supposedly symbolising the hearth, surrounded by … More Knitting through the looking-glass (Or how Martin Gardner helped me design a blanket)
Tax incentives – the start of a debate? The tax community has long been exercised about the differences in taxation/NI between the employed and the self-employed. In 2010, the IFS’s Mirrlees review recommended reducing the distortions by moving towards greater neutrality. By the time the review was published, the distortion had been exacerbated by an … More Tax and the Taylor Review
At a meeting with Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker during yesterday’s NATO summit, Donald Trump reportedly said “the Germans are bad, very bad” for selling millions of cars to the US. That comment, directed at a supposed NATO ally, is damaging enough. But when it hit the press last night, it was mangled into something … More The perils of translation
Following reports of last week’s Juncker/May dinner (see Monday’s blog), there has been renewed interest in Angela Merkel’s speech to the German Parliament (Bundestag) the day after. So I’ve translated it in full below. The bits I’ve highlighted in bold are particularly striking in relation to Brexit. But the speech – quite short by Merkel’s … More Merkel’s 27 April speech to the Bundestag: full translation
Last Wednesday, 26 April, Theresa May invited Michel Barnier and Jean-Claude Juncker to dinner at No.10. Tim Shipman’s report (May is living in another galaxy) in yesterday’s Sunday Times gave an insight into some of what went on and is well worth a read (I downloaded without £). But the full horror becomes apparent in … More The Brexit dinner: delusion at every course