Monday, 31 May 2010

Spain is trapped in a 'perverse spiral' as wage cuts deepen the crisis

"..For Spain it has been a horrible week. The central bank seized CajaSur and imposed draconian write-down rules on banks to restore confidence. The Spanish Socialist and Workers Party (PSOE) of Jose Luis Zapatero then rammed a 5pc cut in public wages through the Cortes by a single vote, shattering consensus. The government cannot hope to pass a budget. Its own trade union base is planning a general strike. "

ECB warns of more bank loan losses

"The European Central Bank warned on Monday that euro zone banks face up to 195 billion euros (165 billion pounds) in a "second wave" of potential loan losses over the next 18 months due to the financial crisis, and disclosed it had increased purchases of euro zone government bonds."

Friday, 28 May 2010

Two for the price of one The coalition looks surprisingly well suited to the era of austerity

The Economist
"How long will the coalition last? There are reasons to think it may have legs. ...And everyone understands that the belt-tightening begun this week is likely to make them all very unpopular very soon—and that their coalition should ideally last long enough for the pain to subside a bit, and for the team to chalk up some positive achievements too. This coalition government may prove unexpectedly good at presiding over austerity. And austerity is likely to prove conducive to the survival of the coalition. "


Daily Express
"IMMIGRANTS are being turned into British citizens at a rate of one every three minutes, it was revealed yesterday.In fresh evidence of the shocking scale of the country’s border chaos, official statistics showed that 203,705 UK citizenships were handed to foreigners last year.The figure is a massive 58 per cent up on 2008 and the highest number since records began almost half a century ago."

Thursday, 27 May 2010

When Will the Eurozone Collapse?

The Adam Smith Institute
"As a long-standing critic of the concept of a single European currency, I have not rejoiced at the current problems in the eurozone that threaten the very survival of the euro. Before discussing the events surrounding the Greek debt crisis further, I must provide at least a working definition of what the word "collapse" means. In the context of the euro, there are at least two interpretations that come to mind. The first one suggests that the eurozone project or the project establishing a common European currency has collapsed already by failing to bring about positive effects that had been expected of it. .....To summarize, the European monetary union is not at risk of being abolished. The price of maintaining it will, however, continue to grow."

US money supply plunges at 1930s pace as Obama eyes fresh stimulus

"The M3 money supply in the United States is contracting at an accelerating rate that now matches the average decline seen from 1929 to 1933, despite near zero interest rates and the biggest fiscal blitz in history. "

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Letter to the Treasury about CGT

John Redwood
".. A big increase in the overall rate could well damage the revenue. The US and UK have both shown in the past that raising CGT rates cuts revenue. In the case of the USA where the figures are not affected by other changes to the tax base the figures are dramatic.In 1981 the US collected $28.5 billion with a tax rate of 24%. In 1982 they raised $26.95 billion with a lower 20% rate, only to see receipts soar to $37.85 bn the next year and as high as $97.33 billion in 1986.

In 1987 they raised the rate to 28%. Revenue plunged to $59.83 billion. They raised it again to 33%. Revenue briefly rose to $66.23 billion in 1988 then plunged again to $57.3billion, lower than when the rate was 28% and well below the levels when they had a 20% rate. In 2002 they raised $55 billion with a 20% rate. In 2004 this soared to $78 billion by lowering the rate to 15%. In 2006 they were bringing in $110 billion at the 15% rate. ..."

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Double-dip fears over worldwide credit stress

"The global credit system is flashing the most serious warning signals in almost a year on triple fears of a Spanish banking crisis, escalating political risk in Asia, and a second leg to the US housing slump. "

Share plunge 2.75% as fears grow for Spain's economy

The Times
"London’s leading share index fell below the psychologically important 5,000-level this morning, prompted by fears that Europe’s sovereign debt crisis will cause more turmoil across the global financial sector.British banking stocks tumbled, with shares in Lloyds Banking Group down over 6 per cent by 9am. Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland fell by more than 5 per cent.The FTSE 100 fell to its lowest level since September last year. By 9am it was down 125.98 points to 4,943.53.Over the weekend Spain bailed out CajaSur — the second time that the country has been forced to rescue one of its regional banks — and there are growing fears that its Government might be forced to seek aid following Greece’s high-profile debt problems. "

Monday, 24 May 2010

Spending 'shock wave' just the start, ministers warn

"David Laws, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said that today’s cuts – which will fall on Whitehall departments and local councils – are just a foretaste of a much larger and more painful austerity programme to be unveiled later this.Mr Laws and George Osborne, the Chancellor today unveiled cuts worth a total of £6.2 billion, which will mean cuts in civil service job numbers, quango budgets and Whitehall spending on advertising and consultants."

Osborne wields the axe in Whitehall as he unveils his £6bn cuts package (and he warns: 'This is just the first step')

Daily Mail
# £6.243bn in public sector savings this year
# Child Trust Funds to be slashed then axed
# £600m to be saved in 'bonfire of the quangos'
# Recruitment freeze across civil service
# Perks for ministers and civil servants slashed
# £836m in cuts at Business Department
# Extra university places halved to 10,000
# Osborne declares: 'I want a smaller state'
# Furious unions warn of concerted strike action

Sunday, 23 May 2010

The age of plenty is over - bloated public sector faces crackdown in £6billion first wave of cuts

Daily Mail
"Nick Clegg has said the 'age of plenty' is over as the coalition Government unveils £6billion in spending cuts in the bloated public sector today.Quangos, job numbers and Whitehall perks will all be targeted.Chancellor George Osborne and his Liberal Democrat deputy David Laws will present the first wave of cuts paving the way for still more severe reductions in the autumn."

Saturday, 22 May 2010

The euro crisis is a judgment on the great lie of 'Europe'

"Easily the most telling statement by any politician last week was that from an anguished Angela Merkel, in pronouncing that "the current crisis facing the euro is the biggest test Europe has faced for decades, even since the Treaty of Rome was signed in 1957". "If the euro fails," she went on, "Europe fails," warning that the consequences for the whole of Europe would be "incalculable".

We have still scarcely begun to wake up to the gravity of the crisis now upon us, not just for the eurozone but also for us here in Britain and for the entire global economy. The measures so far taken to prop up the collapsing euro, such as that famous "$1 trillion package", are no more than gestures. .......What we are witnessing here is a judgment on the entire deceitful and self-deceiving way in which the "European project" has been assembled over the past 53 years. One of the most important things to understand about that project is that it has only ever had one real agenda. Everything it has done has been directed to one ultimate goal, full political and economic integration. The headline labels put on the various stages of that process may have changed over the years, such as building first a "common market", then a "single market", finally a "constitution". But by far the most important project of all was locking the member states into a single currency."

Friday, 21 May 2010

'Perfect storm' as market tremors hit China, Europe and the US

"Capitulation fever has swept global markets on triple fears of faltering recovery in the US, Chinese credit curbs and Europe's intractable escalating debt crisis. "

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Euro under renewed attack ahead of EU crisis talks

The Times
"Shocked European ministers are preparing for emergency talks to shore up the euro after markets fell in reaction to panic measures in Germany.Angela Merkel stunned EU capitals by warning that the euro was in danger and triggered fears of a fresh financial meltdown by announcing a ban on risky trading practices by speculators. The German Chancellor’s actions opened up new cracks in the single currency, drawing sharp criticism from France and prompting Brussels to issue an appeal for unity.The euro plummeted to a new low against the dollar yesterday before making a slight recovery."

City fears of 'Great Depression Mark II'

"Leading City experts have started raising the prospect of "Great Depression II" amid worries that the European economic crisis could trigger a deeper bout of chaos. "

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Germany's 'desperate' short ban triggers capital flight to Switzerland

"A year ago, Germany's financial regulator BaFin warned that the toxic debts of the country's banks would blow up "like a grenade" once hidden losses from the credit crisis caught up with them. ..."

Super tax puts Australian jobs at risk, miner claims

"Pressure is growing for Kevin Rudd, Australia's prime minister, to abandon his proposed mining super tax after one of the country's largest miners said it puts tens of thousands of jobs in jeopardy. "

The Spectre of Sovereign Collapse Haunts Europe

Guido Fawkes
"Most of the non-financial Dead Tree Press has been so focused on the election that they haven’t noticed that Europe’s financial markets are in meltdown, the euro is plunging and a spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of sovereign collapse. All the powers of old Euro have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: ...."

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Inflation overshoots target: BoE Governor Mervyn King's letter to George Osborne

"Britain's inflation rate rose to 3.7pc in April, a 17-month high, triggering an explanatory letter from Mervyn King, the Bank of England Governor, to George Osborne, the new Chancellor. Below is the text of the letter. ...."

Labour ministers spent millions on pet projects before election AGAINST advice of senior civil servants

Daily Mail
"Labour ministers rammed through hundreds of millions of pounds of spending on pet projects before the election against the explicit advice of senior civil servants.Senior mandarins throughout Whitehall resorted to the ‘nuclear option’ – writing to demand written orders from ministers because they disapproved of the decisions, it emerged this evening.Liberal Democrat David Laws, the new Chief Secretary to the Treasury, revealed that he is now conducting an audit of every spending decision signed off since the start of the year in order to uncover the way Labour wasted public money.He expressed grave concern about decisions made by departing Labour ministers which were ruled to breach guidelines on ‘propriety’ and ‘value for money’.Permanent Secretaries complained on 16 different occasions at the way ministers set out to spend millions without the appropriate safeguards during the last five years."

Monday, 17 May 2010

Euro plunges to four-year low against dollar

The Times
"Nervous trading sent the euro into a nosedive early today, as fears of further debt crisis contagion and stalling growth crept across dealing rooms.The euro, already under pressure in New York before the weekend, plunged to a four-year low of $1.2237 against the greenback in Asian trade this morning, sending stock markets in Japan and South Korea sharply lower.The euro’s slide propelled the battered currency through its October 2008 low of $1.2329 — a support level that many had thought would hold out longer.By early afternoon it had clawed its way back to $1.2339, but analysts said that a sell-off was likely to continue over the coming weeks."

Sunday, 16 May 2010

The allies work on the deficit as Labour plays in the sandpit

"...Now Labour is so diminished and divided that its leadership contest is fought between two real brothers. There is nothing metaphorical about the family feud between David and Ed Miliband. Of course, both are richly entitled to stand for the top job. But their inability to decide which of them should do so makes their party look both ridiculous and pitifully small, like a top bunk argued over by two boys. Blair and Brown had the Granita deal. David and Ed have dragged the Labour Party into the family sandpit: not really what Keir Hardie had in mind.

All of which is good news for a coalition that needs all the help it can get in its first weeks. “This is going to be hard and difficult work,” said the newly appointed PM on the threshold of Number 10 last Tuesday. “A coalition will throw up all sorts of challenges.” .....Those around Brown who dared to look ahead to a life in Opposition always assumed that they would have this on their side. They would be able to caricature the new Government’s policies as Bullingdonomics: men with trust funds taking money away from people with nothing. The inclusion of Lib Dems at the highest levels of the coalition has killed off this strategy at a stroke. It has made it all but impossible to dismiss the Government’s plan for structural deficit reduction as class-driven or just another’s rich man’s con. And that is of the greatest importance to the country as well as the prospects of this particular inter‑party alliance. "

Labour hid ‘scorched earth’ debts worth billions

The Times
"THE government last night accused Labour of pursuing a “scorched earth policy” before the general election, leaving behind billions of pounds of previously hidden spending commitments.The newly discovered Whitehall “black holes” could force even more severe public spending cuts, or higher tax rises, ministers fear.Vince Cable, the business secretary, said: “I fear that a lot of bad news about the public finances has been hidden and stored up for the new government. The skeletons are starting to fall out of the cupboard.”The new cabinet has been discovering previously unknown contracts and uncosted spending commitments left by their spendthrift predecessors. ...One former adviser to the schools department said there was a deliberate policy of “scorched earth”. “The atmosphere was ‘pull up all the railways, burn the grain stores, leave nothing for the Tories’,” he added. ..."

Hidden spending commitments by Labour could mean bigger cuts and higher taxes

"Hidden multi-billion pound spending commitments made by Labour in the run-up to the election could lead to more severe public spending cuts or higher taxes, it has emerged.Labour ministers had pursued a “scorched earth policy” before the election, by leaving behind billions of pounds spending commitments for the next Government to inherit, it was claimed.Members of the coalition Cabinet are alarmed to have discovered apparently unknown contracts and uncosted spending commitments left by the previous administration."

Saturday, 15 May 2010

World stock markets, euro tumble as eurozone jitters trigger late sell-off

"Global markets and the euro fell heavily in a late sell-off on Friday after Alex Weber, a top European Central Bank policymaker, fanned fears over Europe's sovereign debt crisis by warning of fresh dangers to the financial system "

Quote of the Week:

From Chris Hull, Wanganui, New Zealand

"I too liken the goings on to a political pantomime. It has three phases - The Clegg Identity, The Clegg Supremacy and finally The Clegg Ultimatum! "

Does George Osborne dare reveal the TRUE size of Britain's black hole?

Daily Mail
"..But his biggest challenge is yet to come. The real problem facing Britain is not political. It is financial, and last week's pyrotechnics at Westminster have done little to address the economic crisis.It is very grave indeed. And once again it confirms one of the immutable laws of politics and economics in Britain: it is Tory governments who sort out the chronic mess habitually left behind by Labour. ...Consider the facts. This year, according to Treasury forecasts, British government spending was expected to exceed income by the spectacular sum of £160 billion. That is approximately £500million a day - an amazing sum of money.Brown's government was in total denial about this desperate situation. It refused to do anything to confront our massive national indebtedness. ....Labour's decision to bury its head in the sand means that for the past two years the British people have been insulated from the consequences of the global economic recession. Over the next few weeks that safety net will at last be taken away. We will be forced to acknowledge the appalling economic reality.George Osborne's first act on entering the Treasury 72 hours ago was that of any new chief executive who takes the helm of a failing or bankrupt corporation. He ordered a rigorous and thorough examination of the books.So over this weekend a top-class team led by Sir Alan Budd, a highly regarded economist who is the head of the newly created Office for Budgetary Responsibility, is going through the Treasury accounts with a toothcomb, seeking to expose the accounting tricks and fraudulent devices for which Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling were notorious...."

Friday, 14 May 2010

Austerity Europe

John Redwood
"Whilst the new Coalition government in the UK considers its options for budget reductions next month, many EU countries are revisiting their large public sectors and taking action to bring down costs...."

It will take a long time for the new boys to unravel Gordon Brown's mess

"As Niall Ferguson, professor of history at Harvard, has concluded, Mr Brown's stewardship of the economy was a 'disaster'....With the corpse of New Labour's government still warm on the mortician's slab, an inquest into the death of its salesmen has already begun. David Miliband, the bookies' favourite to take over as leader, says he will tour the country to find out what went wrong. At the risk of doing his party an undeserved favour, let's save Bananaman the cost of a trip. Despite its record of fiscal incompetence, constitutional vandalism and disregard for Middle England, Gordon Brown's administration ought never to have collapsed. It had, after all, created for itself a client class of supplicant voters. As part of a grand plan for permanent office, more than one million immigrants were handed British passports (80 per cent of first-generation arrivals vote Labour) and 900,000 workers added to the public-sector payroll. More pernicious still, Mr Brown and his ministers were delighted to overlook a grotesque distortion in the make-up of parliamentary boundaries, which meant that a 30 per cent vote for Labour produced about 300 seats, whereas the same percentage for the Conservatives delivered only 200 seats. In short, just about everything that could have been done to bend the system in New Labour's favour was in place by the time the election was called. ..."

Thursday, 13 May 2010

The laughing stops here: First Cameron coalition Cabinet meets to get Britain back on track - with cuts and tax rises top of the agenda

Daily Mail
"The new Government today started to get to grips with the vast black hole in public finances after David Cameron and Nick Clegg held the first coalition Cabinet meeting.Health Secretary Andrew Lansley gave an early warning that the NHS would not be exempt from efficiency savings and pay cuts despite a commitment to increase funding every year in real terms.Economists also believe VAT will have to rise from 17.5 per cent to 20 per cent - costing the average family hundreds of pounds a year - to help pay down the £167billion deficit.And in the first move to slash spending in Westminster, Mr Cameron has cut Government salaries - including his own - by 5 per cent, which will be followed up by a pay freeze for all MPs. ..."

New austerity for Portugal

" Portuguese leaders agreed tough new austerity measures on Thursday, joining a coordinated euro zone push that has so far calmed the markets' worst fears of a Greek-style debt crisis spreading."

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

King says Tories were right all along about the deficit

"The big news from the Bank of England’s Inflation Report press conference is that the Governor, Mervyn King, has been fully briefed on the new coalition government’s plans for deficit reduction and is “pleased” by what he heard. After months of dancing around the goalposts, coded messages and heavy hints, the Governor has said it outright; the Tories were right all along.

The Governor was asked for his advice on whether it made sense to begin deficit reduction this financial year, and he answered strongly in the affirmative. The Lib Dems, it will be recalled, had run with the previous Labour Government in condemning Tory plans to begin deficit reduction this year with £6bn of spending cuts. The Governor was unequivocal in advising that a commitment has to be shown immediately to cut back on public sector borrowing.

He also pronounced himself satisfied with coalition plans for accelerated deficit reduction that go beyond those announced in the Budget last March.

So there you have it. It was always suspected that Mr King thought the Tories were talking more sense than Gordon Brown on the deficit, and ahead of the election he came as close as he dared to saying it. Well, now he has, and in terms. Looking at what has happened on the Continent, he is surely right....."

What the coalition agreement means for the economy

"The new coalition government’s agreement is out. You can see the whole thing here, but I’ve stripped out the economic and financial highlights, as below in bold, with a few comments alongside them. .....The parties also agree to rule out joining the European Single Currency during the duration of this agreement.Well thank God for that. Least surprising statement in the entire document."

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Cameron becomes Prime Minister - to form first Tory government in 13 years... after Gordon finally throws in towel

Daily Mail
# George Osborne to be new Chancellor
# William Hague to be Foreign Secretary
# Cameron arrives at Downing Street after meeting the Queen
# An hour earlier Brown tearfully announces resignation as PM
# Brown then drives to Palace to formally resign
# Tories and Lib Dems thrash out details of new Cabinet
# Clegg to sell new pact to party at crunch meeting tonight
# President Obama calls Cameron to congratulate him

Monday, 10 May 2010

Gordon Brown to resign: a very Labour coup

"Gordon Brown has been accused of a “sordid” attempt to keep Labour in power after offering his resignation in return for a coalition with the Liberal Democrats. ..Last night senior Conservatives accused the Lib Dem leader of “treachery” after it emerged that Mr Clegg had changed the basis of a deal with Mr Cameron just minutes before Mr Brown made his statement.

John Reid, the former Labour Home Secretary, warned that a Labour-Lib Dem coalition would result in “mutually assured destruction” for both parties.He also suggested that England would bear the brunt of public sector cuts under any Labour coalition deal because it would be dependent on support from nationalist MPs from Scotland and Wales. Mr Reid said that would “further enrage” English voters. ...Mr Brown said he believed a “progressive coalition” was in the interests of the “progressive majority”.That provoked a furious response from Conservatives. Lord Hurd, the former foreign secretary, said Britain was “on the edge of a crisis” and warned that Mr Brown’s refusal to admit Labour should not be running the country was “shabby, shameful and unfair”.Lord Heseltine, another former Tory Cabinet minister, claimed Mr Brown’s attempted deal with the Lib Dems was “party politics at its most sordid”.He added: “This is mind blowing. I don’t know how anyone would have such a barefaced nerve as to put such a proposition in the circumstances. The only viable solution is for David Cameron to become the prime minister.”A senior shadow cabinet minister said: “This is clear treachery on Nick Clegg’s part. He was saying one thing to us and planning another with Brown.
Any suspicion that a Lib-Lab deal was not a real possibility was dispelled when Mr Clegg made a statement at 6.20pm.He made it clear that he could work with Labour and appeared to indicate that talks with the Conservatives were at an end.“Gordon Brown has taken a difficult personal decision in the national interest,’’ he said. ''And I think without prejudice to the talks that will now happen between Labour and the Liberal Democrats, Gordon Brown’s decision is an important element which could help ensure a smooth transition to the stable government that everyone deserves.”

Gordon Brown clings on: a bleak day for British democracy

"Telegraph View: The Liberal Democrats are holding the country to ransom while an unelected leader of the Labour Party remains Prime Minister. It is a measure of Gordon Brown’s loose grip on reality that he sought to depict his decision to stand down later this year as a noble act of self-sacrifice made in the national interest. The truth is that this was an act of quite staggering cynicism based on naked party advantage. With the incomprehensible connivance of Nick Clegg – whose reputation will surely never recover – Mr Brown is effectively seeking to nullify the result of last week’s general election. Blinded by his tribal loathing of the Conservatives, he is ready to risk everything – and we use that term advisedly – to keep David Cameron out of Downing Street.

This unelected leader of the Labour Party will remain Prime Minister, even though his party secured two million fewer votes and 48 fewer seats than the Tories. He will then hand over at a time of his choosing to a new Labour leader. At that point, the United Kingdom will find itself governed by a Labour prime minister the country has not elected, succeeding a Labour prime minister neither the country nor his party elected. Even by Labour’s standards, this is self-serving and unscrupulous. "

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Alistair Darling trapped in euro deal

"Alistair Darling has agreed to consult directly with George Osborne and Vince Cable as European leaders looked poised to push through a new multi-billion pound bail-out fund part-financed by British taxpayers. ....However, despite the likelihood that Labour will be ejected from Downing Street imminently, Mr Darling will have the final say over Britain's vote on participation in the new scheme. "

EU to defend euro with stabilisation plan

" BRUSSELS, May 9 (Reuters) - European Union finance ministers said on Sunday they would do everything possible to defend the euro before starting talks on emergency measures to stop Greece's debt crisis spreading to other countries.The European Commission will present the ministers with a proposal on a stabilisation mechanism intended to provide a safety net for other euro zone countries with bloated public finances and low growth such as Portugal, Spain or Ireland.Bond yields of these countries have been rising sharply -- increasing the risk premium investors pay to hold their debt -- on market concern they may be next to need assistance.Greece has already secured a 110 billion euro ($147.6 billion) three-year emergency loan package from the euro zone and the International Monetary Fund."We are going to defend the euro... we have to give more stability to our guarantee," Spanish Economy Minister Elena Salgado told reporters as she arrived for the talks in Brussels.

EU sources said the Commission proposal that the ministers would discuss would extend the European Union's balance of payments facility, now reserved for non-euro zone countries with current account problems, to euro zone members as well.Under such a mechanism, the European Union's executive arm, the European Commission, would raise money on the markets using its AAA rating and lend it to the euro zone country in need, perhaps together with the IMF under strict conditions.

The bonds would be guaranteed by euro zone countries."

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Euro leaders try to stem panic as Greek crisis goes global

"European leaders moved last night to shore up confidence amid chaos on global stock markets as the Greek debt crisis looked like spiralling out of control.Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, Nicolas Sarkozy, the French President, and the leaders of the 14 other countries using the euro met for an emergency session but struggled to restore calm after weeks of dangerous indecision over whether or not to bail out Athens.Stocks plummeted from Wall Street to Tokyo yesterday and the euro hit a 14-month low against the dollar. The US President Barack Obama spoke with Ms Merkel before she departed for the summit and was said to be monitoring the situation closely. "

General Election 2010: Hung parliament sparks market chaos

"The pound plunged up to 4½ cents against the dollar during a roller coaster 24 hours of trading as the prospect of coalition Government prompted investors to ditch UK assets. "

Friday, 7 May 2010

Pound and stock market on a rollercoaster over hung parliament and hints of a potential political deal

Daily Mail
"The pound fell and volatility reigned on the FTSE 100 Index today due to the UK hung Parliament and the Greek debt crisis.The pound at 5pm was 1.4666 dollars compared to 1.4931 dollars at the previous close having fallen to a year-low of $1.448.The FTSE eventually closed down 2.6 per cent at 5123, with £35.5billion wiped off shares. It has suffered its worst week since March 2009 and dipped by 7.6 per cent."

Pound slumps and stock market dives as investors fret over hung parliament

Daily Mail
"London's leading shares were hit by another sell-off today as the uncertainty of a hung Parliament and the Greek debt crisis sent investors rushing for the exits.The FTSE 100 slumped more than 1 per cent to its lowest level since February as trading screens turned red across the City.The share fall followed a 2 per cent slide for the pound against the dollar to $1.46 as investors fretted over delays in tackling the UK's huge deficit."
"Strikingly, Moody's credit agency placed Britain alongside the eurozone’s so-called ‘PIIGS’ – Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain – in an analysis of ‘sovereign contagion risk’."

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Euro and world stock markets retreat after ECB fails to ease fears over Greece

"The euro fell sharply and world markets continued to slide after the European Central Bank failed to calm fears that the Greek debt crisis could spread to vulnerable eurozone countries. "

General Election 2010: Britain's finances 'worse than Greece'

"The Government is due to borrow the equivalent of 12 per cent of the entire annual output of the economy, giving the country the highest budget deficit in the EU.The deficit is now forecast to be almost twice the European average. The commission said the “first thing” the new British government needed to do after today’s general election was to agree a “convincing and detailed programme” to deal with the country’s debts.The official analysis will add to growing claims that the party leaders have failed to be frank over the scale of the public sector cuts required, whoever wins the election."

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

General Election 2010: Europe issues warning over Britain's debt

"The European Commission has waded into Britain's election debate on the eve of polls after warning that British public debt is expected to be higher than any other European Union country this year. "

Angela Merkel: EU future at stake in Greek crisis

"The future of Europe and the future of Germany within Europe is at stake," Ms Merkel told the parliament, which will vote on Friday on a package that would see Germany lend 22.4 billion euros (£19 billion) in taxpayers' money to Greece. ..."

Volcanic Ash: parts of UK airspace shut as ash heads south

The Times
"..EU transport ministers agreed at an emergency meeting yesterday to speed plans to unify European airspace, which they hope will ease any future disruption. Siim Kallas, the EU Transport Commissioner, said there had been progress on the plan, which would reconfigure the airspace of all 27 member states into nine larger blocks by June 2012. However, there was little sign of agreement on a state bailout of airlines, which have lost about £1.12 billion so far as a result of the ash crisis. "

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Postal vote fraud: 50 criminal inquiries nationwide amid fears bogus voters could swing election

Daily Mail
"Voter fraud could determine the outcome of the general election as evidence emerges of massive postal vote rigging.Police have launched 50 criminal inquiries nationwide amid widespread cases of electoral rolls being packed with ‘bogus’ voters.Officials report a flood of postal vote applications in marginal seats. With the outcome of the closest election in a generation hanging in the balance, a few thousand ‘stolen’ votes there could determine who wins the keys to Downing Street."

Monday, 3 May 2010

After the IMF/EU bailout - Greeks face reality

Channel 4 News
"Greeks have been living on the never never for years. The biggest difficulty they now face after the massive multibillion euro bailout announced on Sunday is facing up to a grim new reality, and the sacrifice expected of themselves in return for Europe's unprecedented and embarrassing help."

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Germans must pay for Greek loafers and cheats

Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun (Australia)
"The Greek crisis exposes hard truths which the cultural elite have refused to discuss, yet which could destroy not just the European Union, but challenge multiculturalism within each EU nation, too. First,the background.The European Union is now forced to bail out Greece, a near-bankrupt EU member, with a massive $170 billion bailout.This means voters of hard-working, rort-resisting, tax-paying and prudent cultures like Germany will wonder why they must subisides cultures which breed the nepotism, welfarism, tax-dodging and manana economics that has led directly to the Greek collapse.

Examples from Greece’s extraordinary record of waste:......"

Tories urged to call in IMF for audit of UK’s debts if they win election

"The Conservatives have been urged to consider the "nuclear option" of calling in the International Monetary Fund to examine the full extent of Britain's debts if they win the election. "

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Would you vote for 40% basic rate income tax?

Daily Mail
"Britain's political leaders are taking us all for idiots. As a nation, we owe £890bn, up from £742bn a year ago, and its increasing at an astonishing rate - around £156bn will be added in the current tax year."