Why the government is right to subsidise first-time buyers

The government is not giving a grant to first-time homeowners in order to make them more affordable. Every economic and political correspondent should print this out on an A2 sheet and stick it above their bed.

The purpose of the grant (or any subsidy) is to increase the supply. In the economic jargon, this is ‘moving the supply curve to the right’. And subsidising new housing by five percent should have that effect, and reasonably fast. Continue reading

Budget gobbledygook

Another year, another budget. However, budget figures are largely impenetrable.

Tax is a great thing. We are all lucky to live in a society where we trust each other enough to contribute to a centralised pool of services that are beneficial to everyone and where taxes are collected and spent by a democratic government. Continue reading

7 impossible things before brexit

To go ahead with ‘hard Brexit’ in good conscience, the British government needs to believe all of the following:

  1. That introducing trade tariffs on trade with neighbours can make Britain into a great trading nation
  2. That the EU will let the UK sell goods and services into Europe without agreeing to follow European rules
  3. That international trading partners will slight the EU in order to hold preemptive trade negotiations with Britain
  4. That London’s banking centre can thrive without full access to the European Union
  5. That foreign manufacturers like Toyota and Nissan are too firmly entrenched to move out of Britain.
  6. That the UK isn’t dependent on EU labour to any great degree
  7. That Scotland will stay in the Union no matter what

Leader writers at the Telegraph might pretend to believe some of these things two or three days a week, but even the most hardened eurosceptic knows that at least some of these things are definitely not true. If even one of these things turns out not to be the case, it will mean a major recession at best, and the collapse of the United Kingdom at worst.