As the Chancellor stood up to the despatch box today, there was a question around whether we would finally get some meat on the bones of what the opportunities might be for the UK as a centre for business, trade and innovation post-Brexit. We didn’t get that. This was an autumn statement which purposely avoided detailed comment on Brexit.
A few days after the EU referendum I was contacted by an analyst in New York to ask how the government was going to keep business confidence up. I pointed out that as the prime minister had just resigned we didn’t really have a government, and that summer recess meant it was hard to make tax announcements - as they needed to be made to parliament.
Philip Hammond’s Autumn Statement is likely to be overshadowed by a hugely controversial prediction that Brexit will cost the UK £220billion and 10 years of pain. The Office of Budget Responsibility delivered the bombshell forecast in a report published at the same time as the Chancellor’s debut Autumn Statement. It immediately sparked a fresh war of words.
On 25 June 1899, four newspapers in Colorado reported that China was going to tear down its Great Wall and use the rock to build new roads. Within days newspapers throughout the United States picked up the story – which then spread across the world. The only problem was there was not a shred of truth in it. Four local reporters had invented the tale.
“It came down to helping the poor, or giving the world’s richest university $400 million it doesn’t need. Wise choice John!” These words, dripping with sarcasm, were tweeted by journalist and social scientist Malcolm Gladwell. Billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson had just given a $400 million endowment to support Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
There was always something disquieting for me about the 2016 election. I started to get seriously uncomfortable with the public polling back in August. There were a few reasons. Mostly it was little things like the swings in margins that Clinton was winning by or that polls in swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania were coming up with results like 0% of African Americans voting for Trump.
The former secretary of state for work and pensions pens his thoughts on Brexit and immigration in this short policy paper.
Just a few months after being elected Conservative Party leader, David Cameron flew to Rwanda. It was a high-profile trip so he could see first-hand the development of one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies and launch his party’s review on globalisation and global poverty. On his first day, he visited a textile factory in Kigali, the country’s capital.
Measurement and evaluation