Magazine article Public Finance

Renaissance Man

Magazine article Public Finance

Renaissance Man

Article excerpt

It was the speech of his life, they said. An oratorical tour de force. Authoritative and yet apologetic; humble, while still combative.

And in many respects the commentators were right. Gordon Browns address to Labour's annual conference in Manchester galvanised the party and gave the prime minister a new lease of political life.

But the devil was in the missing detail. The PM was clear that difficult times lay ahead and that old certainties had been 'turned on their heads'.

The blame could not be laid at the doors of Numbers 10 or 11 Downing Street, however. Brown stressed that the global credit crunch and the trebling of world oil prices meant that all economies were feeling the strain.

This is undoubtedly true, but there are also particular problems with the British economy. We already have the largest budget deficit of any developed country and it is unlikely to improve any time soon.

Economists are predicting that borrowing will hit £63bn in this financial year (£20bn more than forecast in the Budget) and will approach £100bn next year. …

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