Faisal Islam Profile picture
Economics Editor, BBC. Fin crisis book @theDefaultLine .. Brexitologist. Host award-winning 2016 EUref TV interviews & 2017 live GE debate. United ST.
LittleGravitas 🇪🇺 Do Good, Wear A Mask, #FBPE Profile picture AlanLB 🦋 ⚖ 🦋 Profile picture Chris 😷#WearAMask #NotIntentional #FBPE 3.5% Profile picture Jay Jernigan Profile picture sl-xf Profile picture 82 added to My Authors
29 Nov
interesting Sunday reads on fish negotiations - useful context on quantum here - talking about 700k tonnes of fish worth half a billion £ a year fished by eu27 in Uk EEZ. So EU reportedly proposed restoring 18% to UK, others say UK wants 80% - argument over £300m of 🐠 0.01% GDP
Not difficult to see route to compromise here...obviously with no deal all £500m comes back to UK, though UK would then lose about £100m of rights to fish in EU EEZ too..unclear if UK has fleet to get the fish.

No deal would see some hefty tariffs on actually exporting the catch
Clearly using above stats can refashion this argument for EU coastal states too - where its even smaller an economic factor. Eg France’s gets £171m worth of fish from UK waters - assuming the range of negotiations 18%-80% we are talking £90m of fish, or €100m / 0.004% French GDP
Read 8 tweets
27 Nov
At 2245
PM’s tier-drops: most severe restrictions lasting perhaps months with @lewisgoodall..also is mass testing way out of Tier 3, the “moonshot”, but we hear reservations...
@markurban01 back in Salisbury NHS pandemic winter pressures
@helentbbc on Brexit fish and vet shortage
Here is Lewis on the tier system and some local expert reservations about mass testing as a solution...
Here’s statement from local health chiefs we reported - boils down to - what are actual published results of Liverpool pilot? How effective are these tests when not in medical hands, & without being used as originally intended for those with symptoms?

Read 12 tweets
26 Nov
Second half of Spending Review extra time - at the IFS.
@pjtheeconomist pointing out that “precisely zero” additional Covid spending (eg for vaccine/ test & trace) allocated beyond next year’s “whopping £55bn”...
IFS on council tax: “Chancellor has chosen to reduce support to local authorities and has given them the ability to raise council tax by 5% instead. If they do, and they’ll mostly probably need to, that will increase annual tax bills by an average of around £70 per household”.
IFS on partial public sector pay freeze:
- will hit graduate public sector workers in London & SE, least we’ll paid relative to private sector
- Two part time teachers on £20k will each get £250 pay rise but a full time teacher doing same job gets nothing
Read 5 tweets
26 Nov
On Spending Review analysis call for @resfoundation @TorstenBell pondering the Maradona theory of economics first floated by the former Bank of England Governor Mervyn King - basically related to being able to walk straight through defenders if they expect you to go round them...
Here’s Mervyn King’s seminal analysis of the Maradona theory of interest rates from 15 years ago... “the truly remarkable thing is that Maradona ran in a straight line”...
OBR’s new chief Richard Hughes contrasts the deficit spike after financial crisis - mainly tax related - with this year’s extraordinary fiscal support “almost like Beveridge overnight”...
Read 10 tweets
25 Nov
Chancellor announces initial £18bn directly for testing, PPE, vaccines next year #SR20
11.3% fall in the economy this year forecast for this year... (largest for three centuries) growing by 5.5% next year, 6.6% in 2022, then 2.3%, 1.7% and 1.8% in the following years...

By 2025 economy expected to be 3% smaller than expected in MArch #SR20
Government borrowing £394bn this year says forecast - that is 19% of GDP for this one year’s borrowing...

Not far off the official figure four the entire historic national debt in 1990 at 21%
Read 11 tweets
24 Nov
spoke to Mayor of G Manchester @andyburnham for #BBCNewsSix ahead of SR - he warned that infrastructure not enough, citizens need help with lower costs eg bus fares now, and that Covid had “levelled down” UK with North now facing “worse than 80s crisis” bbc.co.uk/news/business-…
Burnham: “north of England has been hit hardest by COVID because of failure to invest.. we could be looking at another period like the 1980s in the north of England, coming out of the COVID crisis, the 2020s could even be worse than the 1980s”
He did welcome the Green Book changes that should direct more infrastructure spending North, though detail on that tomorrow. Said the “bias against the North” goes back decades and he saw it as Chief Sec when he asked for similar schemes at the time of London Crossrail funding..
Read 5 tweets
9 Nov
Let me tell you just two* stories which might have wider resonance about a special person who we were saying bye to today... Dadu, Mukul, Chow to some, to me... Dad.

A few years ago, I spoke at the 500th anniversary of my old school. trying to capture spirit of Manchester... ImageImage
I spoke of Dad, an Indian Muslim student, being given his first career push in 1960s by an open minded Jewish accountant. It turned out he Yitz was in the audience. They reconnected, had big joint clan dinner in Mcr.
He gave a eulogy today.

& I’m godfather to his granddaughter Image
Dad was very proud to be British, Indian, Muslim, Bengali and Mancunian, saw no contradictions... born into rural Bengal still under British control, first memory the RAF flying over his village on the way to Burma in WW2, his dad’s tannery supplying leather for army boots... Image
Read 6 tweets
31 Oct
NEW: Told that the this will be a return to furlough scheme for all at rate of 80% of wages, with flexible element to support part time working. So the nearest analogy is the furlough scheme as it was in August. Ie not tied to having to close down, like tier 3 JSS due tomorrow
Understand that the Jobs Support Scheme due tomorrow will now come in when extended furlough ends, currently planned for beginning of December, ie when national lockdown remains.

Obviously extended furlough will apply across the UK to all nations.
Obviously that is interesting re what Welsh first minister said earlier...

Am checking re self emp scheme, generosity of which was doubled last week, though not to august levels.

My rough estimate of cost is extra £2-3billion on what JSS would have cost. Depends on take up.
Read 10 tweets
29 Oct
IMF Article IV initial health check of the UK economy about to report back. We will hear from Chancellor @rishisunak, and IMF chief @kgeorgieva very shortly...
IMF cuts UK economic forecast from last month for this year and next
2020 - -10.4%
2021 +5.7%
But praises “aggressive policy response - one of the best examples of coordinated action globally” on the economy...
IMF: “Room to loosen monetary policy in the near term”

Backs “additional fiscal push”... “there is a case to spend more” than current plans to lift investment...

UK economy “now faces headwinds from a second Covid-19 wave, Brexit related uncertainty, rising unemployment..”
Read 11 tweets
27 Oct
This didn’t happen.

Latest years’ numbers for UK are goods.

Before that goods and services, I think.... or at least that’s the only way I can make sense of these numbers (see WB databank/IMF numbers)

On this basis UK has slipped down table since 2015, but by one, below Japan
Good case study in confirmation bias - clearly some people wanted to believe that UK dollar exports could have not far off halved in 4 years.

Truth is there are some notable/concerning/interesting glacial trends in trade stats, but things would never move as quickly as this...
Just so everyone has stats - lots of different ways trade is measured, so you do get different numbers, but vitally important to compare like with like. in $ terms UK exports of goods AND services went up from $810bn (2015) to $894bn (2019) UK slipping one to 5th below Japan...
Read 4 tweets
23 Oct
Coming up on @BBCNewsnight - I’m presenting, we hear from @MarcusRashford, an MP defending the Government, and also top trade adviser Dan Hannah on the big trade deal with Japan, as well as the architect of Black Lives Matter... BBC2 now!
Here’s full message from @MarcusRashford who we asked to join us on @BBCNewsnight late last night, but he was in bed ahead of match, responding to yesterday’s outpouring of support from councils, communities, and corporations for supplying food for English children in half term Image
Supermarket Asda (recently taken over back in British ownership) this morning joined in, pledging £100k for school holiday access to food Image
Read 9 tweets
22 Oct
Significant new support being announced by Chancellor in Commons...
NEW - Chancellor doubles taxpayer support for wages to employers under Jobs Support Scheme, and cuts eligibility from a third of hours to a fifth - affects whole scheme, aimed at Tier 2, but not formally tied. UK wide.
Significant acknowledgement that large swathes of the economy are back in survival mode given rising infections, and not in restructure mode, which is what underpinned the original Winter Economic Plan...
Read 5 tweets
21 Oct
A deal-making deal has been reached on “Organising principles for further negotiations with the EU” which may or may not lead to an actual deal: gov.uk/government/pub…
“most difficult” issues identifies as “LPF, governance, fisheries, energy and goods/services provisions” in the memo.
“For our part, we remain clear the best & most established means of regulating the relationship between two sovereign and autonomous parties is one based on a free trade agreement..”

Interesting No 10 statement - surely they mean “only” means of regulating is based on an FTA??
Read 4 tweets
20 Oct
PM confirms Greater MAnchester moved to Tier 3

Coming in to force midnight Thursday
& PM confirms the £22m support figure after Burnham found out live on TV from media

PM says distribution of virus this time round is very uneven, which is why local lockdowns appropriate...
Read 6 tweets
20 Oct
...European Commission just started raising first part of €88bn 10/20 year AAA debt on international markets to support 17 member states’ pandemic employment programmes - half going to Spain and Italy, as social bonds...
essentially deploys AAA credit of northern EU to help more fiscally challenged members - as was long argued about during eurozone crisis - and was cause of some UK concern as a member - “the appetiser” ahead of main course of €1 trillion issuance by 2026 ec.europa.eu/commission/com…
Example of EU moving ahead on pooling sovereignty more quickly than would have been the case had UK still been a member - Remains to be seen what proportion the ECB buys in secondary market - a sort of EU-wide QE. Bundesbank wants to make sure it’s a one off... but it’s happened.
Read 6 tweets
19 Oct
“Intensify talks” though “as stated by VDL on Friday”... this is like the world’s slowest tennis rally....
“Based on legal texts” seems a bit stronger though... but Frost clearly did not answer in the actual call with Barnier whether this was enough, and we await the presumably tweeted reply
ExPM-as-GIF content amply provided for by this cutaway of Theresa May responding to Gove arguing that no deal Brexit provides new opportunities for border protection/ security cooperation...
Read 9 tweets
19 Oct
Government: “it’s a question of semantics at the end of the day, sure” on the use of the phrase “Australia-style terms” to describe no trade deal/ tariffs with EU - also was headline of the overnight press release
use of “Australia-terms” is even more puzzling, because it is obviously designed to reassure...

But actual point of campaign launched today is to get 10,000s of UK businesses to prepare & react.

Surely they want to say very directly “prepare for tariffs”...“prepare for checks”?
Similar issue Govt ad campaign, which some say looks more like kwik-fit tyre change ad - is Govt communicating this is a really big deal, potentially major business risk which will require weeks of prep? Or is it something you can sort out on the way back home from shops one Sat?
Read 6 tweets
18 Oct
“The EU effectively ended trade talks last week” - Michael Gove tells Marr “door is ajar if EU changes it’s position - but we are ready to leave on Australian terms”...
Marr: “but could be called Mongolian or Afghan terms”
Gove says he backs promising UK during referendum “we hold all the cards” though he tells Marr “we hold cards”
Marr: “Do you think the public is going to thank you for leaving the EU without any trade deal the middle of a global pandemic?”
Gove: “Public like me would rather we had an FTA but would not thank us if Eu still in control .. ultimately want us to take back control”
Read 7 tweets
16 Oct
Coming up on @BBCNewsnight with me - exclusive first UK TV interview with Macron’s Europe minister Clement Beaune responding to No 10 saying talks over & Barnier should not come to London. on fish, state aid, internal market bill, and a “misunderstanding” about Canada ...
So progress made over past week, areas of compromise were starting to open up on state aid/ governance.

But PM’s Oct 15 deadline gambit all about getting EU summit to adapt Barnier mandate - didn’t happen... in that respect it is worth careful look at what minister told me yday:
1. Asked reaction to “talks over” & Barnier shouldn’t travel to London @Cbeaune tells me “still willing to discuss” & “now up to UK to say whether its worth discussing”.. if UK say “we’re ready to do another round of discussion” we “willing and happy”

Read 17 tweets
15 Oct
Charles Michel EUCO President specifically singles out level playing field and uses example of car industry, and the UK wanting freedom to subsidise (ie state aid) at same time as expecting full tariff free access to single market, says it risks 100,000s of jobs
Barnier - “our positions have been crystal clear from day 1 - if you want access to our market of 450 million, there must be a level playing field” says EU27 remain united and calm
Lord Frost responds as BArnier giving presser:

Read 20 tweets
14 Oct
It was often said privately in the aftermath of the 2014 referendum, at SNP conferences etc, that they’d have to wait until polling got to 60% before a renewed referendum push. This is one poll, but overall trend in polls is clear...

Also might interact with trade negotiations..
Within Cabinet - argument about Union weighing heavy on those leaning for deal...

Even the perception No Trade Deal would create specific additional problems herr for Govt ahead of elections next May, could affect how likely EU side see as UK actually going for “Australia terms”
Read 4 tweets