NI house-building recovery running out of steam?

starts and completions

The UK housing market is tipped to feature prominently in the Chancellor’s Budget. A range of initiatives are expected to be unveiled, targeted primarily at the younger generation. There are calls for a shift in emphasis from ‘Help to Buy’ to ‘Help to Build’ schemes. It remains to be seen how Northern Ireland will benefit from these. But it’s worth considering how the Northern Ireland housing building sector is currently faring. Continue reading

Budget 2017: Public finances remain no laughing matter

Chancellor Philip Hammond surprised those anticipating a boring Budget by littering his speech with jokes and gags. However, there were definitely none of the pyrotechnic policies that were prominent in the last Chancellor’s Budgets (e.g. the sugar levy), as the substance of ‘Spreadsheet Phil’s’ announcements lived up to his nickname. And, needless to say, the state of the public finances remain no laughing matter. Continue reading

Chief Economist’s Weekly Brief – Breaking (almost) all the rules

bw2_1121-copyLower growth forecasts meant the Chancellor had some tough choices to make in last week’s Budget. By pressing ahead with business and personal tax cuts now he chose to postpone a big chunk of austerity until the final year of this parliament. Austerity will have to be extended unless productivity and wages stage a dramatic recovery.

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Economic Gongs: Best actors in an increasingly unpopular drama

red-carpet

There is an increasingly unpopular drama unfolding in the global economy. It’s not quite the epic of 2007/8. But it certainly has economists and investors gripped, as we have witnessed the Big Short on oil prices and a Revenant-style bear market that has mauled the share prices of the stock markets’ biggest stars. Continue reading