Economic justice campaigner. Professor of Accounting Practice, Sheffield University. Chartered accountant. Political economist. Opinions all my own.
165 added to My Authors
Feb 1 • 28 tweets • 5 min read
We face the biggest group of strikes in recent history today. That is not surprising. A belligerent and out-of-touch government is deliberately trying to crush the living standards of public sector workers when paying up makes total sense. A thread…..
The government says there is no money to pay public sector employees. That is nonsense. Of course there is money available. The government creates our money supply. It can create all the money required to pay people. They are lying when they say there is no money available.
Jan 31 • 12 tweets • 3 min read
It’s hard to believe that three years ago few people had heard of Covid, and fewer still thought it would disrupt life as we knew it for the following eighteen months, and millions would die, many in the UK. Now we are in denial again, which is just as dangerous. A thead….
If people in the UK were to believe our government Covid has been, and gone. Three years ago those few who knew of the threat it posed prayed for a vaccine. Now, work on vaccine development has ended. No one under 50 can even buy one, although they can for flu.
Jan 25 • 38 tweets • 7 min read
The NHS is under funded. As I demonstrated in a report published at the weekend, it’s not just a bit underfunded. It is short by maybe £30 billion a year. That is not small change. I have shown how it could be found, but the questions this raises are significant. A thread….
It is being said by many that the NHS cannot survive as it is and a new funding model must be found. That may be an excuse for charging and privatisation for some. It may be be incomprehension by others. But it may be more appropriate to stand back first and appraise the facts.
Jan 24 • 8 tweets • 2 min read
When people save with a bank no one panics because the bank is now in debt to the saver. We just think that’s normal. Nor does anyone say the bank must pay all that money back as soon as possible. That would be crazy. So is there a panic when people save with the government?
And let’s be clear about this - what people call the national debt is nothing more or less than sums people save with the government, whether through National Savings and Investments or government gilts. Even bank notes are government savings accounts with zero interest on them.
Jan 24 • 11 tweets • 2 min read
Central government borrowing was, supposedly, £27.4 billion in December 2022. £17.3 billion of this was supposedly extra borrowing costs. This is utter nonsense. The numbers are wrong. A thread….
First the numbers are wrong because most of this supposed cost was on index-linked bonds. Most of this supposed cost won’t be paid in cash for 18 years as a result, when these bonds will on average be repaid, which is when this extra cost might then be due.
Jan 23 • 13 tweets • 2 min read
I have never been enamoured by corruption. My dislike of everything to do with it motivated the work I did on tax havens and the abuses that they permit. I have little more liking of corruption within government either. And it seems like we are plagued with it, again. A thread…
For those old enough to remember, what is happening now feels quite remarkably like a re-run of the dying years of John Major’s 1992 - 97 government. It matters not a jot if the PM is as clean as a whistle if those all around him are sleazy.
Jan 21 • 14 tweets • 3 min read
Sajid Javid says we need to pay £20 for a GP appointment and £66 to go to A&E as a way to solve the NHS funding crisis. He’s wrong because there are so many better options in my new report on funding the NHS. A thread…..
There are 367 million GP appointments in the NHS each year. Assuming everyone had to pay (and I bet children and pensioners would not) at £20 a time that would raise £7.3bn in extra revenue.
Jan 19 • 15 tweets • 3 min read
There are continuing suggestions in the media that ministers are considering one-off payments to striking workers as a way to solve pay disputes. These are madness and will not address the issues working people face and must be resisted. A thread...
Only days ago Rishi Sunak was saying maths education should be extended to 18 so more people enjoyed basic numeracy in this country. However, he is now arguing pay disputes can be solved by one-off payments to strikers and that shows he does not understand the maths of inflation.
Jan 18 • 14 tweets • 3 min read
Steve Barclay, the Health Secretary, is saying today that if nurses get inflation matching pay rises patients will suffer. But if inflation is 10% then tax revenue should increase by 10%. So he needs to explain what he’s doing with the extra tax he’s not using to pay nurses. A 🧵
He will no doubt claim he’s using it to pay interest on government debt. Five things follow. First, that’s a one off cost. Most of the extra cost is in index linked bonds and as inflation tumbled this year so will that cost, but tax revenues will remain 10% higher despite that.
Jan 13 • 33 tweets • 6 min read
The government has just published new data on the cost of UK tax reliefs, which is the money given away by the government because some things are not taxable or because costs can be offset against income. Tax reliefs on savings are going to cost £59 billion this year. A thread...
To summarise the data on the tax cost of subsidising UK savers last year and this year (2022/23) I have prepared this table:
Jan 9 • 35 tweets • 6 min read
I criticised Keir Starmer and Wes Streeting for their comments on GPs and their financing this weekend as I consider them irresponsible. That needs explanation in more detail, taking into account what needs to be done in this area. So, another thread on GPs, the NHS and Labour...
I was critical in this thread of Labour for discussing GPs and the way they're paid when this might a) increase tension, with already angry patients putting GPs at risk, and b) when Labour has no alternative to offer as yet.
Keir Starmer is joking Wes Streeting in attacking GPs for the self employed status they have enjoyed since 1947 this morning. Three things are deeply troubling about this. A quick thread….
First of all, attacking NHS personnel is really not wise in the current environment. GPs, like many health staff, already feel at considerable risk from angry patients right now. Having any politician fuel that anger is really very deeply unwise. I really hope no one is harmed.
Jan 7 • 4 tweets • 1 min read
When a public sector worker is given a pay rise around 40% of it goes straight back to the government in tax and total national insurance. Then when they spend more tax is paid. And the recipient then pays tax too. In fact, most often more tax is paid then the pay rise costs…….
This is called the multiplier effect. Not only does paying the recipient cost not nearly as much as the government claims because of tax paid, but the spending of those getting the pay rise boosts the rest of the economy when it’s in recession, as we are right now.
Jan 4 • 4 tweets • 1 min read
1. Inflation will HALVE this year
True, but arithmetically that’s just about inevitable and no challenge at all
2. Govt will GROW the economy
One day, but not for some years
3. National debt to FALL
Not before 2028. We’ve no data beyond then
4. NHS waiting lists to FALL
Given that they’re at a record high is that really all he san promise? And what about people dying now
5. New laws to STOP small boats
Laws do not stop boats.
But what did Sunak not say? (Continues)
Jan 4 • 20 tweets • 4 min read
I wrote a blog yesterday that was surprisingly popular. Based on observation of behaviour witnessed during a walk on 2 January, I asked a simple question, which is why have baby boomers, most especially, been bought into political compliance by the Tories? A thread…
This tweet links to the blog in question
Rishi Sunak’s big idea in the face of the country going into meltdown is to require 16 to 18 year olds to continue their maths education when in compulsory state education. Some thoughts in a thead….
I agree with Sunak. We do have a problem with innumeracy in the UK, most especially when it comes to statistics. It seems that few journalists know, for example, that a big percentage change in a very small number still means that the resulting number is very small.
Dec 23, 2022 • 27 tweets • 5 min read
Justin Welby, as Archbishop of Canterbury, was pontificating on Twitter yesterday. I noted he said he said ‘The Magnificat turns the world upside down’. I agree, it does. So trust me, this is all about economics, and why the Church is failing on this key issue. A thread....
This was Welby’s tweet:
The most difficult thing about writing about economics at the moment is working out why it is that those who are in charge of our economy think that anything that they are doing makes any sense any more. A thread ...
As most economists would agree, when faced with a recession and the likelihood of rapidly falling inflation (with both being near certainties in the UK at present) the three thing a government should do are cut taxes and interest rates whilst increasing spending.
Dec 15, 2022 • 23 tweets • 4 min read
I am so bored of hearing politicians saying that the country is being held to ransom by trade unions whose pay demands cannot be afforded when that is not true. A thread…..
I accept that many unions are at present making pay demands that exceed the rate of inflation. Given the state of our public services there are good reasons for them to do so. But those same unions are also settling for inflation-matching pay rises, so let’s consider them here.
Dec 14, 2022 • 9 tweets • 2 min read
As I always suggests would happen, inflation is beginning to turn downwards as (on this occasion) the Covid reopening shocks fall out of the system. Soon the Putin ones will too and inflation (but not prices) will tumble as 2023 progresses. A 🧵
This has nothing to do with raised interest rates: they have not had time to take effect in inflation terms as yet. Nor has it anything to do with pay restraint because wage increases have not caused this inflation.
Dec 13, 2022 • 22 tweets • 4 min read
Some people have asked me why I seem to be complaining as much about Labour as the Tories these days, so I thought I should explain. A thread…..
Let me start by saying that very obviously I think Labour is preferable to the Tories, but this is not exactly hard. When the Tories are threatening to fall off the right-hand end of acceptable politics Labour should be better.