Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Voice of authority

There are several authoritative bodies publicly giving their views of nations' economies and relate matters, and in Britain we have the Bank of England, the new Office for Budget Responsibility (which is turning out to be valuable) and the IFS (Institute for Fiscal Studies).

The last of these has had a somewhat mixed reputation, with some statements and predictions that were way out of kilter with other outfits and with what turned out, but seems more recently to have got its act together.

There are also international organisations such as the IMF and the credit agencies such as Moody's and Standard & Poor. All of these are significant in not only judging how we as a nation are performing and our prospects, but also how others (the movers and shakers) view us. In the case of the credit rating agencies this can be crucial in establishing our loan interest repayment rates, so those perceptions are very important.

It is in that context that we see the IFS's latest assessments as being of value. There's a string of out that came out at the beginning of the new month (i.e. February), and they have been summed up in a series of tweets issuing from Tory Press HQ thus, starting with the IFS's assessment of the situation in Britain just a year ago:

  • IFS: 'Last year widespread concern that UK might not get funding from financial markets. Rating agencies said UK AAA credit rating threatened.'
  • IFS: UK government bond market over past year shows investors believe the UK deficit problem will be dealt with effectively.
  • IFS: Coalition plan more credible than Lab: 'completing fiscal repair job in 1 parliament [is] more credible than a plan to tighten in a future parliament.

I think that is fairly conclusive!  Here's Pete Hoskin's ten-point summary of the IFS's new Green Budget, which makes interesting reading is an easy-to-digest form.

Interestingly, from the same Twitter source, has come this very telling Tweet regarding the Opposition's response (or lack of any) to one of the items of distinctly good news on the economy that emerged yesterday:

"Labour oddly silent on manufacturing stats yesterday and oddly silent on construction stats today: sector returned to growth in Jan"

Hmm. Nothing even from Ed Balls? It seems not!

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