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Tricks can’t make mistakes vanish

The Monetary Policy Committee’s decision to cut the base rate again to just 1% suggests that our chancellor-turned-Prime Minister has only one trick in his briefcase – the great base rate illusion.

On current evidence, this is not working – why else would he be trying it again and again?

But it would be wrong to assume that Gordon Brown is a one-trick pony.

His tricks of the past include selling the nation’s gold at a low point in the market and taking billions of pounds out of private pension funds in order to raise a fast buck.

His current bag of tricks includes the Special Liquidity Scheme, nationalising or partially nationalising a big slice of the banking sector, a 2.5% temporary cut in VAT, bailing out gas guzzlers, building thousands of council houses and a multitude of job creation schemes.

Brown struts the world as an inspirational figure and points to the massive economic stimulus package that US President Barack Obama is putting together to save his country, if not UK plc and our friends in Europe.

It may work. Let’s hope it does. But it seems that Brown may soon find himself suffering a sort of diplomatic BO problem.

The modern political mantra that the people who get us into a mess are the right ones to get us out again may be right but watching the inauguration of Obama I couldn’t help but envy the US’ opportunity to start again with a new leader who doesn’t have a legacy of bad decisions to defend.


High time

If house price indices aren’t enough for you, you can usually measure the state of the economy in footwear. According to The Stiletto Index, women wear flatter shoes in tough times.

Sir James Crosby quits his post at regulator

Sir James Crosby, the former CEO of HBOS who was accused of silencing critics who complained that the bank was growing too fast, last week resigned as deputy chairman of the Financial Services Authority as his appointment was brought into question.

RPI inflation hits 49-year low

Depreciation in house prices and mortgage interest payments was blamed for the Retail Prices Index falling to the lowest annual inflation rate since 1960.


Guide: 10 required letters — what to send, to whom and when?

This guide from Johnson Fleming will take you through the required communication and also give ideas for additional actions that will ensure your auto-enrolment project is a success. The topics in this guide include: the letters you need to send out; what to send and when; the importance of employee engagement; and what to consider as additional communication.


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