The publication of a draft EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement puts down on paper the debates of the last 18 months. Its progress is far from assured, but we were also given a glimpse of what the future might look like from the accompanying political declaration. Here’s our take on the key points along with the latest UK data.
UK GDP growth picked up in Q3 but this bounce is likely to be fleeting, judging from latest downbeat business surveys.
In many ways, yesterday’s budget could be summarised as spend now, tax later.
The US economy is motoring along, driven by recent tax cuts, keeping the Fed on course for further gradual tightening in coming months. However, signs of weakness in the Euro area mean a rate hike is some way off.
Good news for the consumer. Not only have average UK earnings posted their largest rise since 2009 but inflation fell more than expected, boosting hopes the recent real income squeeze is coming to an end.
Northern Ireland’s Labour Force Survey (LFS) has been a source of record breaking highs and lows of the positive variety over the last two years. More recently, Q1 2018 witnessed an all-time low unemployment rate of 3.1% with a record number of people in work in the three months to May. However, the subsequent data has seen rising unemployment coupled with a falling number of people in work.
UK growth has picked up a bit of speed in Q3, judging from latest monthly GDP figures, with strength widespread. However, recent favourable weather flattered the headline rate, so a moderation in growth looks likely in Q4.
If Philip Hammond has learned from the history of taxation, we could see some interesting developments in the October 29th Budget.
When we look back at some of the taxes we’ve had in the past, it is clear that taxation has had to continually change to keep pace with the times. In 18th century Britain, a hat tax was introduced to raise revenue from the gentrified. It was effectively a stamp duty on the head-dress of the more wealthy – the bigger the hat, the bigger the tax. Top hats had a top rate of 14%.
Candles were also viewed as an extravagance in Georgian England and therefore drew the interest of the exchequer, leading to the introduction of a candle tax. Similar taxes to target the wealthy at the time included, a beard tax introduced by Henry VIII, or an 18th century window tax (the bigger the house, the more windows it would have and the more tax the owners would pay). Continue reading
Latest monthly UK PMI surveys were upbeat, hinting at firmer Q3 GDP. Increasing skill shortages suggest a pick-up in wage growth in coming months, supportive for cash strapped consumers.
The UK recovery remains imbalanced. Consumer spending rebounded in Q2 but investment weakened. Ongoing Brexit uncertainty continues to overhang the corporate sector.