Kantar have published a new voting intention poll ahead of the budget, the first I’ve seen from them since the general election. Topline figures are CON 42%, LAB 38%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 5%. Fieldwork was between last Tuesday and this Monday.

This is the first poll to show a Conservative lead since September and the largest Tory lead in any poll since the election. As ever, it’s best to look carefully at any poll that shows an unusual result before getting too excited/dismayed. The reason for the unusual result appears to be methodological, rather than from some sudden Tory recovery, and down to the way Kantar treat turnout. As regular readers will know, many polls came horribly unstuck at the 2017 election because instead of basing turnout on how likely respondents said they were to vote, they predicted respondents likelihood to vote based on factors like their age and class. These methods assumed young people would be much less likely to vote, and produced large Conservative leads that ended up being wrong. Generally speaking, these socio-economic models have been dropped.

At the election Kantar took a sort of halfway position – they based their turnout model on both respondents’ self-assessed likelihood to vote, whether they voted last time and their age, assuming that older people were more likely to vote than younger people. This actually performed far better than most other companies did; Kantar’s final poll showed a five point Conservative lead, compared to the 2.5 they actually got. As such, Kantar appear to have kept using their old turnout model that partly predicts likelihood to vote based on age. The impact of this is clear – before turnout weighting Labour would have had a one point lead, very similar to other companies’ polls. After turnout weighting the Conservatives are four points ahead (the full tabs and methodology details are here).

(Another noticable difference between Kantar’s method and other companies is that they use the leaders’ names in their voting intention question, though given there is not nearly as much of a gap between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn’s ratings as there used to be I’m not sure that would still have an impact.)


633 Responses to “Kantar- CON 42, LAB 38, LDEM 9, UKIP 5”

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  1. I should perhaps have added to my previous post that Co Tyrone is in N Ireland, for anyone whose knowledge of UK geography doesn’t extend beyond Britain. But it’s very much on the border (I think the British army used to call it ‘bandit country’).

  2. Fermanagh and Armagh

  3. As suggested earlier it is to be a super-Canada deal (i read it on Brexit Central).

    Slugger is talking about the absence of agreement on the NI / Ireland border

    https://sluggerotoole.com/2017/11/21/three-things-we-know-about-brexit/

    No one talking about Dover delays – yet

  4. @Sam

    Ah, yes. Specifically South Armagh, I see upon checking (which I should have done rather than relying on memory). But my check also revealed that Tyrone has two separate land borders with the Republic, one with Co Monaghan and the other with Co Donegal. So at least I got the ‘border country’ right!

  5. @Peter

    I agree the stamp duty cut is unlikely to make any significant difference – I didn’t say it would.

    But it may well be quite clever: it might even raise revenue for the Treasury, and at the same time give a bit of help to FTBs. As Colin has pointed out, anything that reduces the ‘deposit’ required by young people to enable them to better compete has to be a good thing. And to stimulate activity does not necessarily mean to lift prices.

    So I would agree it is political, and the effect will be marginal. But at least it is clever.

    The OBR, according to McDonell, predicts it will increase FTB purchases by 3,500 per annum. By my calculations that should mean 5,000 extra transactions ‘up the chain’. I reckon that makes it tax generative.

    It was, I understand, Labour policy.

  6. @ SAM – thank you for all the NI posts. I’m going to ask the CU issues in a mo but with regards to the “we didn’t vote for this” and constitutional issues of a devolved nation then an eventual answer would be a referendum for NI to chose where the border is (ie One Ireland or a hard border between N/S Ireland). LucidTalks have polled on that and the interesting finding was that a lot of NI believe a referendum could happen, would be OK with a referendum and.. well you can read the rest on their website as I’m sure you have.

  7. MILLIE

    @”. And to stimulate activity does not necessarily mean to lift prices.”

    Agreed.

    Market condition is key.

    http://www.rightmove.co.uk/news/house-price-index/

  8. As I see it the budget was competent (an achievement) and did not make things worse. It also made it clear that compared with others the UK economy is not in a good place and this will be particularly hard on some groups. Essentially the budget did nothing to resolve these basic difficulties,

    So the political problem/opportunity is to highlight this malaise, weave a plausible story around its causes, and offer to address them in a believable way. As a start we need a list of what the root causes might be.

    For me they would be our failure to invest in training, our ability to substitute low wages for productive investment, our preference for putting money into existing houses rather creating new houses or businesses, the willingness of the government to subsidise low wages, our infatuation with austerity, and the uncertainties caused by Brexit.

    A lot of this goes back for ages – we have never valued apprenticeships in the same way that the Germans and Austrians have. Some of it is not our fault – being first to the industrial revolution has had its own drawback. Some of it like Brexit blight is recent and in my view an own goal. What would be interesting would be to get people’s own lists of what is wrong and see how far there is actually agreement among the warring tribes of UKPR. (I don’t expect agreement on Brexit blight but it would be good t find agreement on something!(

  9. @Colin

    Your link shows prices falling 0.8% in a month. The OBR predicts that the Budget stamp duty change will increase prices by 0.3%. Which rather proves the point.

    Hammond’s change is, of course, a gimmick, but at least it is not a stupid one.

    Btw, the OBR is complaining that there is no benefit for first time buyers paying over £500,000. I don’t think there are too many people worrying about them.

  10. Customs Union (in the broadest sense) revisited (again):

    Purpose of A broad sense CU (lets call it a Customs Understanding for the strict EU lawyer folks):
    1/ ensure common minimum regulatory standards (e.g. France ban UK beef. The regulatory arbitration system would eventually force France to lift that kind of ban provided regulatory standards were met)
    2/ linked to above have Rules of Origin (e.g. ensure US don’t sell chlorinated chicken to UK who then sell it to EU27)
    3/ with 1/ and 2/ combined custom checks are no longer necessary (as is the case in the vast amount of SME agri-food goods that travel across the magical frontier between France and Switzerland every day) BUT spot checks or full on border checks are optional, especially if approaching the situation from regulatory differences or if other FTAs creating a conflict on 1-3.
    4/ linked to a CFTA this enables the CU nations to register the arrangements with WTO and ensure they don’t have to offer the same tariff/quota deal to other countries
    5/ The intra CU tariffs/quota can thus be zero or whatever they want without risk to external FTAs/WTO rules.
    6/ there is no necessary reason for the CU to extend to everything (e.g. it could be limited to agri-food, with tariffs and quotas on larger, non-perishable, bigger company products who would more easily be able to adopt a technological solution of pre-payments and spot checks possibly in a phased implementation approach as is the case with Canada’s CETA but simply in a reverse manner)

    The above do require a large degree of flexibility but coming from 100% regulatory alignment and existing full CU this presents less of an issue than starting from scratch (ie much easier than Canada CETA). Regulatory drift is an issue that could be kicked down the road (ie Canada in reverse). Agreeing CFTAs with non-EU is limited by this approach (as the Swiss know) but non-EU CFTAs will take time anyway and having the EU min regs on agri-food is quite a nice defence if we foolishly try to deal with US before Trump is kicked out

    RoI clearly have a veto ‘roll-over’ so blocking progress is a signal that they see no solution other than an eventual EEA+CU arrangement (ie they are setting phase2 before we get there).

    However, UK probably need to offer something on the NI issue and hence why IMHO the FoM issue is an easier one to offer concessions on – at this stage. DUP will have to permit a passport check on one side of the Irish Sea crossing and since some ID check is required already for ports and air travel this is a political issue not a technical issue. IMHO May has to call DUP bluff on this and that was always going to be a problem with the DUP pact.

  11. MILLIE

    Agreed.

    Rightmove are advising FTBs to move quickly given these market conditions.

    Perception is everything in politics-being cynical.

    The Property Industry blogs seem to be saying the biggest effect will be for FTBs in London.

  12. @ PTRP – the only ‘quick’ way to make houses more affordable is to crash the property market. My brother was up close and personal with that in the early 1990s and combined with other factors it led to the brief recession that followed. Real house prices dropped significantly and for those that bought at the top and then lost their job you faced repossession. High inflation and a quickish recovery meant the recession was brief and if you look at actual house price rises you’ll barely even notice it.

    QE and the global savings glut has created asset bubbles as investors are crowded out of Gilts, etc and bought into buy-to-let. We do not have a time machine. CON have already introduced tax changes to hit buy-to-let owners and deter new buy-to-lets but more could be done. Within the budget various small other measures tackling empty houses, etc. Certainly more affordable housing can be built and in the past I have suggested social housing measures to ensure critical public service employees can live near their work at an affordable rent/purchase.

    So, what is your solution? You say you don’t like JC much, don’t really support any party but just saying everything is cr4p and everyone is useless isn’t really helping much is it.

  13. @ COLIN – estate agencies suggesting folks buy houses, wow, would have thought it? In the run-up pension providers etc were making a big deal for people to lock in allowances (which didn’t change).

    0.3% increases in prices is nothing in the general flow of market forces but it is hard to argue that the stamp tax has helped anyone other than those who bank with a rich mum+dad or who have good jobs and income.

    It does seem to be the focus of attention though and that avoids the other more damaging reputational issues of the GDP forecast.

    I reran the deficit numbers with more realistic growth forecasts (using IMF, BoE out to their limits and then a trend of 2.3% after) and very happy with a few days of news cycles flak and then a very low target to beat going forward.

    I expect a few thinktanky types will rerun the numbers today and if I see an honest one I’ll post it. If you see something first could you post it. Cheers

  14. Millie,
    “I’m not sure that the reduced stamp duty for first time buyers will have much impact upon prices. FTBs only account for 30% of transactions.”

    Its rather hard to say. The money the government is providing will be leveraged by the market, as one person can now afford more because of government help, and therefore others have to try to match this. Presumably this then ripples through, at an indeterminate rate, to properties which are not the sort attractive to first time buyers, as relative prices adjust.

    As I posted, this might have the effect of boosting the prices of cheaper properties attractive both to first time buyers and those dabbling in property investment and rental. So this might even push up rents, and then the government’s housing benefits bill as well.

  15. TREVOR WARNE

    @” it is hard to argue that the stamp tax has helped anyone other than those who bank with a rich mum+dad or who have good jobs and income.”

    Is it?-I’m not sure.

    I don’t know if OBR’s GDP forecasts are ” realistic ” or not.

    But as I have said before I am more than happy with a CoE who tries to aim off a bit & better his forecasts. I’ve had more than enough years of Brownian & Osbornian smoke & mirrors.

    And the key thing for me is that the fiscal strain caused by his caution is being taken by timescale & not Tax or Spend. He is right to switch focus from Deficit to Debt when he is getting the former down to one or two % of GDP.

  16. Trevor Warne,
    ” there is no necessary reason for the CU to extend to everything”

    Unless your aim is to avoid the need for customs border checks….

  17. @trevorwarne

    You are describing customs arrangements which go alongside trade arrangements( e.g the USA has multiple agreements with the EU although it is subject to the CET as it does not have a comprehensive FTA with the EU) not a Cutsoms Union. So all you are doing is redefining a customs union to be a hard border arrangement which is made as friction free as possible. This is what the UK Government has already proposed dependent on it seems non-existent technology. And how is it credible to kick regulatory equivalence down the road when Brextiers seem to want regulatory divergence as a prime objective of Brexit to unlock economic benefits?

    It is possible to zig zag on the way to a decision point but eventually you ran out of zag and a choice has to be made.

  18. Well the budget is disappointing, but is much as could be expected from a CoE trying desperately to please his far-right party members.

    It certainly has done nothing to help public-sector staff afford to buy properties, or to help local authorities provide decent roads, schools, safety.

    Tory-run Moray Council is now proposing to close every public toilet, every library except that in Elgin, stop gritting most roads, withdraw lollipop staff. When one Tory complained about no gritting in his area, a fellow Tory councillor told him to move house.

    So he promptly resigned from the Tory party and called his fellow Tory councillors “right-wing extremists”.

    https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/moray/1362286/moray-councillor-quits-tory-party-over-savage-saving-plans/

    We are getting back to the old days here when the “Progressives” (aka far-rightwingers) didn`t believe schools should have playing fields. So my children didn`t have what in rUK would have been accepted basics, and for any sporting activity had to walk a mile from school to a public park once a year on “Sports Day”.

  19. @sam

    Interesting article on the realities of the Irish border at a very local level:

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/nov/22/how-brexit-looms-over-the-irish-border-its-the-berlin-wall-approaching-us

  20. to reiterate do people agree that

    a) The UK economy is not doing well relative to others
    b) This relates to the fact that we are less productive than others
    b) The budget though competent does nothing to address this problem

    If so which if any of the following are key sources of this malaise:

    a) Poor quality management
    b) Reliance on low paid/government subsidised work
    c) Lack of serious apprentice type training
    d) Incentive to invest in asset bubbles
    e) Brexit blight (uncertainties)
    f) Antiquated infrastructure
    g) Over-reliance on City of London
    h) Lack of government investment
    I) class structure and related education system
    j) none of above
    k … Other

  21. Another reason why I am somewhat jaundiced is the low standard of the five regulars on the Radio 4 Today programme.

    John Humphrys was interviewing the CoE on his budget, and carried on asking silly questions that must have been the main ones on his brief. I was even sympathetic to Hammond when he told JH that he had far too simplistic an understanding of the reasons for the UK`s low productivity.

    But what an opportunity missed to ask about the weaknesses of the budget, the shocking mistreatment of the public-sector, the squeeze on local authorities, the waste of billions on Brexit challenges that are needless or may never be needed.

    Then we have the R4 news again failing on NW England pronunciations of places affected by floods. Two years back the news readers were making Todmorden rhyme with London`s Morden 24 hours after it was flooded, and the producers seem to have done nothing to rectify these failings.

    The BBC has allowed the Home Counties to take over its news and news background programmes, despite a mass of criticism from rUK.

    We need now to have at least two of the present 5 Today presenters replaced by non-SEast persons.

  22. Charles

    K (other): inappropriate corporate structures (except for some of the new tech industries) especially in manufacturing, unavailability of finance (except for equity based financing for a few firms which is antiquated), dominance of general manage rd and accountants in senior management in manufacturing instead of specialists of the sector.

    The government cannot do much about it without a huge change in the institutional system. Not even Labour proposes such a change (shame on them).

  23. “”North of the border snow was beginning to accumulate on high ground on Thursday morning, with 1.7in (4.3cm) measured on Aviemore and 1.2in (3cm) in Altnaharra.””

    It seems the DTel considers Aviemore is a mountain.

  24. @Laszlo

    Thanks. What is the huge change in the institutional system that is needed?

  25. Just the the previous – there is a massive difference in how businesses are run in London and the SE, in comparison to the Midlands and the North. My comment was about the latter. If there were ways of transferring practices (some of them), it would be rather beneficial.

  26. @ HIRETON – I appreciate your more detailed reply and help in my understanding of this. My approach is to try to see if a solution is possible or whether it is pointless to even bother.

    – UK’s current approach isn’t going to work and compromises will have to be made more from UK side
    – Sufficient progress is undefined but transition (phased implementation) could be a road map with milestones (specifically for NI in this context)

    Redefining Customs Union – yes. From now on I will call it ‘Customs Understanding’ and we’ll need two versions: one N-S Ireland and one NI-GB.

    Hard Border as friction free as possible – yes. In a phased approach and for practical reasons this can be de facto open borders in the short-term IF tariffs are zero and quotas are ignored (that is a fudge and may have consequences with other WTO members and why Minford types just say make everything tariff free)

    Technology exists but it will not be invisible and it will take time to implement. The amount and type of technology depends on the eventual deal – are we collecting tariffs? do we have regulatory drift that requires inspections?
    The new tariff regime is the more urgent issue that requires a CFTA. The regulatory drift will become an issue with other FTAs and will upset the Extreme Brexiters but folks like Gove seem keen on keeping regulatory standards very high and that is good news and has huge side benefits like avoiding speaking to Trump.

    An independent body does not exists for dispute resolution – but we could possibly use a slightly expanded EFTA court at least in the short-term?

    I agree entirely this is simply zig-zagging around the issue and a kicking the can down the road exercise. It is a short-term fudge to pass “sufficient progress” and then allow a phased implementation. The EU could set a deadline of say 29Mar21 for either an acceptable technological solution or imposition of a physical hard border (which they could then delay on nearer the time if they wanted to).

    Short-term can be vague if the phased implementation is a road map. We can call it 2yrs but transition is split out to different issues then NI might be an issue that takes longer. Passporting would an example where EU would be unwise to break too soon.

    NI will need two set of Customs Understandings that ensure they stay above both UK and RoI min.regulatory standards. Since GB imports huge amount of EU produce and products through GB ports in the short-term this will require UK fully shadowing EU regulations so I don’t see that as a technical problem. This could ‘solve’ the issue of permanent project stack into Dover – with the same min. regulatory standards and no need to collect tariffs on certain products customs checks are not necessary (e.g. a lorry of vegetables can be waved straight through)

    I am not saying this isn’t political difficult but is it practically possible? If it is possible in a practical sense with a bit of fudging and goodwill from both sides then it comes back to a political issue only. If it is completely impossible in a practical sense then trying to solve it is pointless and we then have two options:

    a/ Accept an eventual outcome of EEA+CU purely to satisfy the NI problem (ie solve phase2 before phase1). Within this maybe a full Remain option.
    b/ Accept that a border is needed in NI either in the Irish Sea or along the 310mile land border (possibly best resolved via a referendum in NI)

    Thank you in advance for your time and thoughts on the matter.

  27. Quickie on recession risks. Any model will predict some risk of a recession for any country at any time in the future. It comes down to guessing the central point and then allowing variance of possible outcomes. Avoiding a lot of economic terms and statistical stuff the BoE report gives the probabilities as roughy 10%. See p2 of attached:
    http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/Documents/inflationreport/2017/novofe.pdf

    There is always a risk of recession. Brexit is a risk but IMHO the risks are far more skewed to:
    – a housing market collapse
    – a global event
    – a drastic shift in UK economic model
    – a ‘perfect storm’ combination of any/all of the above

  28. DAVWEL

    @”It certainly has done nothing to help ………..local authorities provide decent roads, schools, safety.”

    You might be interested in this curious report. :-

    “In terms of outstanding reserves, this has left the total stock in 2016-17 £4.2 billion (22.0 per cent) higher than in 2011-12. For upper-tier authorities, the stock was £1.9 billion (13.9 per cent) higher, for the GLA it was £0.3 billion (16.2 per cent) higher and for other authorities it was £2.0 billion (53.2 per cent) higher”

    Economic & Fiscal Outlook-Nov. 2017
    Box 4.4: Local authorities’ use of reserves
    OBR

  29. @Danny

    FTBs only represent half of the participants in 30% of transactions. I’m not sure if the stamp duty ‘freebie’ from the government will all be handed over to the vendor, and that he will then pass it on again.

    Might not the FTB spend it on carpets, or going to the cinema, or on a holiday? Or a pension?

    I think recent measures by the government with respect to stamp duty may have been quite well targeted to give young people a better chance to compete with the buy-to-let renters.

    Its tinkering, but its good tinkering.

  30. charles: … do people agree that

    a) The UK economy is not doing well relative to others
    b) This relates to the fact that we are less productive than others
    c) The budget though competent does nothing to address this problem

    Yes to these

    If so which if any of the following are key sources of this malaise:

    a) Poor quality management
    b) Reliance on low paid/government subsidised work
    c) Lack of serious apprentice type training
    d) Incentive to invest in asset bubbles
    e) Brexit blight (uncertainties)
    f) Antiquated infrastructure
    g) Over-reliance on City of London
    h) Lack of government investment
    I) class structure and related education system
    j) none of above
    k … Other

    Yes to these except j) as being issues
    No to these except j) as being key sources

    This list is I think more a list of symptoms than any disease in its own right.

    In a nutshell, I think the problem is too much compromise and not enough consensus. People are too tolerant of living silently with the genuinely unacceptable for the sake of compromise and there is little public discourse which leads to consensus.

  31. CHARLES

    Re Productivity.

    You might be interested in the key factors which OBR have identified.

    You will find them at 3.22 & after on pages 46 to 49 of this :-

    http://cdn.budgetresponsibility.org.uk/Nov2017EFOwebversion-2.pdf

  32. TW @ 11.04 am

    I welcome your thoughts on the Ireland problem, and just wish such thinking was more widespread months ago.

    I feel your option b is impossible, and that UKexit ought to be absolutely controlled by having arrangements acceptable to all the Irish parties.

    Therefore the wishes of Hard Brexiteers simply have to be rejected, and TM ought to made that very clear at least 12 months ago.

  33. @ COLIN – the max anyone will lend is 6x income, for that you would need a 20% deposit.

    price 299,999
    deposit reqd 59,999 *
    mortgage 240,000
    annual income 40,000

    * deposit reqd – that is a lot of money for a young person unless mum+dad are helping

    Although the cut helps all young people in theory, it seems fair to say it helps richer parents in areas with high house prices to pass down the intergenerational issue a lot more than those with poorer parents or difficulty in saving up for a sizeable deposit.
    [NB. you might be able to get mortgages with lower deposits but that will push the earnings multiple up and quite probably the rate of interest as well. The numbers are for example purposes only]

  34. Charles. My long time opinion is that a component of our poor productivity results from the lack of a well functioning social security system and NHS.

    A workforce that feels bullied, insecure, powerless and fearful of the future is unlikely to be productive.

    This story from our local paper highlights the viscous cycle of despair that many are trapped in.

    http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/health/housing-issues-led-major-rise-815471

  35. TREVOR WARNE

    Yes I think it probably does.

    But SD on the first £125k is already zero-so the policy by definition doesn’t help buyers in that bracket.

    I think we all agree that unless/until a Government unlocks the unbuilt planning consents, enables more land for building and/or whatever else it takes to increase supply- the rest is just tinkering to use Millie’s word.

  36. sam Lucid,powerful

    http://qpol.qub.ac.uk/crisis-challenge-brexit-ni-constitutional-future/

    Thanks for your links, this one in particular which only enhances its point by being calmly and modestly stated.

    It makes me conclude that we are now really off the political territory for which the GFA was designed and that this needs urgent attention.

    For the sake of its own internal politics, the UK really needs clarity over whether leaving the SM and CU is posturing or the desired end point. If it is posturing, this needs to stop. And if it is the genuinely desired end point, the pretence over frictionless borders has to come to an end and an extra-ordinary border poll, outwith the GFA is required, for the good people of NI to decide where they want the hard border.

    If we are going to be out of the SM and CU, then the tories have to be honest with the DUP, at the expense of the C&S agreement, to establish that border poll. There is no honest way of avoiding it.

  37. @” the viscous cycle of despair”

    Yep-very sticky :-)

  38. Colin @ 11.16 am

    Yes, this stockpiling of reserves does seem curious. and I think you are saying it hasn`t occurred as much in London as elsewhere.

    I suggest there is a general apprehension of what disasters might occur on Brexit, and so councillors are being more cautious.

    I think you were arguing in the debate here 2 days ago about the risks for builders buying land to be developed.

    Well in our region these are pretty obvious when houses completed 12 months ago still have no buyers or renters, despite large roadside adverts. And when other planned estates have roads and kerbs installed but all actual building work stopped.

    Hardly anyone would have thought this could happen four years ago when the region was booming.

  39. Colin, well spotted, I think viscous describes it quite well too. Being in the social security system can feel like being stuck in treacle.

  40. @ DAVWEL – unfort the political reality as at today is May needing both the DUP and the Extreme Brexiters. I’m not happy about that but it does now require May to start calling some bluffs somewhere – either with
    – Barnier (over the sufficient progress issue)
    – DUP/Extreme Brexiters (to allow more room to compromise)
    – Corbyn if she stays led by the Extreme Brexit side of CON and CON-Remain rebels deadlock HoC.

    Another element of option a/ would be a new ref in UK which I think is quite possible in mid 2018 due to the practical realities of the political situation and the maths of the HoC. a/ and b/ represent the rock and hard place that May is in unless we get passed sufficient progress in Dec or early in the New Year.
    I think is a fair representation but add a IMHO just in case.

  41. @Colin MarkW Laszlo technicolour October

    Many thanks for your answers to my question. I have to go out but on return will read, digest and if able feed back.

  42. @Charles

    I agree with your broad description of the state of the UK economy. There were some measures which the Chancellor said were intended to tackle the UK ‘s productivity issues ( e.g. infrastructure investment and more generous tax treatment of R&D expenditure) and the Government is due to publish an industrial strategy which may do more.

    On another aspect, the Resolution Foundation has said this morning that the squeeze on living standards described in the Budget documents will be more prolonged than that caused by the financial crisis. There seems to have been some measures to help the “Jams” e.g. the rise in the Minimum Wage but overall not much. So while the budget may be judged competent ( which probably says more about the quality of some recent budgets) I wonder whether it will.do much to improve the Conservative’s popularity with voters who are looking to Labour in England and Wales.

  43. @Colin

    I stupidly had missed the fact that the new stamp duty measures have established a new ‘cliff’ at £500,000. That is always a bad thing, as it creates a distortion in the market.

    Having said that, at £500,000, there aren’t so many FTBs, so how it will affect the market remains to be seen. It certainly won’t be anything near as bad as the old market-wide £250,000 cliff which was absurd.

  44. @ DAVWEL – I think you live in Aberdeenshire and hence I know the housing issue you refer to. It is a little industry (oil) specific perhaps? My mum was born in MacDuff but lived most of her life in England. She then moved back to Whitehills for a few years as property was so much cheaper, closer to some relatives, better NHS, etc but then moved back to England (stung quite badly on price moves and size/type of house and GP issue etc as well)
    From what I understand developers in NE Scotland went a little crazy on the back of the oil prices of noughties and the urban sprawl from Aberdeen. Oil industry folks could move 1h from work and buy a mansion for the price of a flat in Central Aberdeen and at a more humble level regular folks became priced out of Aberdeen and had to move further out and face a longer commute (the traffic queues for the airport road I know well!)
    London and S.East England has the same issue with financial services. Lots of cities/regions have had similar issues to varying degrees and at various times in history.
    These region-industry specific issues highlight the risks for developers where a single highly paid industry is dominant (boom-bust risk) and also the risk of going crazy and building enormous numbers of new houses that might then tip regions or the whole country into negative equity with the damaging economic consequences that follow.

    Those hit worst by negative equity are the last ones on the property ladder who bought at the high – typically young people, although those that use their home equity gain as a piggy bank also get hit.

    The challenge for BoE and govt (central and devolved) is to respond by smoothing the cycle where they can (too late for rebuilding the bubble in S.East-London) but more importantly filling in the industry collapses as+when they can (e.g encourage industry and rejuvination into areas vacated by shrinking/dying/dead industries). Flexible workforce, skills retraining, etc. Lots of ways govt can help but over compensating and creating unintended consequences are also a risk.

  45. @Alec
    ALEC
    “Or not as the case may be. I think the OBR forecasts are as wrong as they were last time.”
    OMG!!!
    Howard thinks things are going to get even worse!!!!

    @Danny
    The Other Howard,
    ” I think the OBR forecasts are as wrong as they were last time.”

    You mean…you think its going to be worse than they are predicting?

    Sorry if you were misled by my post, I should have added that the OBR overreacted to its earlier forecasting errors by being as badly wrong the other way this time. I think it is widely accepted that measuring productivity in the dominant service sector part of our economy is probably very inaccurate and understates the true position. I therefore expect the GDP out turn to be better than the figures in the budget.

    Norbold

    “Colin, s Thomas and TOH all think Corbyn didn’t do very well.”

    A number of TV commentators made the same point about him “losing it”. Which was my point, and that he did not appear to be replying to the Budget, just ranting.

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