Economy: Autumn Budget Statement

7.47 pm

Lord Skidelsky (CB)

My Lords, I will concentrate, as is my wont, on the macroeconomic implications of the Budget. That is not to say that supply-side questions are not important—of course they are. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Maude, that a Government should not be exempt from the efficiency expected of the private sector. However, in general, efficiency is closely related to investment. The more investment there is, the more efficient an economy is likely to be, for the simple reason that there will be much less resistance to cutting costs—which in practice usually means laying off workers—if there are plenty of alternative jobs available.

We have 1.4 million people out of work—“too many”, the Chancellor rightly says. Continue reading

Economy: Currency Fluctuations

12.55 pm

Lord Skidelsky (CB)

My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh, for making this debate possible. The most dramatic economic effect of the United Kingdom’s Brexit vote has been the collapse of sterling. Since June, the pound has fallen by about 16% against a basket of currencies. Mervyn King, the former Governor of the Bank of England, has hailed the lower exchange rate as “a welcome change”. Indeed, with Britain’s current account deficit in the order of 7% of GDP—by far the largest since records started—depreciation could be regarded as a boon. But is it? That is the subject of our debate today.

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Universities: Freedom of Speech

Motion to Take Note
1.07 pm
Moved by Baroness Deech

That this House takes note of the protection of freedom of speech in universities.

2.22 pm
Lord Skidelsky (CB): My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Baroness, Lady Deech, for making possible this debate. I shall draw your Lordships’ attention to two threats to free speech on the campus. In four minutes I have time for only two threats, but I think that they cover most of the ground.

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Speech to the Boston Meeting of the Economists for Peace and Security (EPS)

Historians and economists see the world in a different way. Economists tend to see progress in terms of the linear ascent of reason. Historians tend to see progress as an ascent through disaster.

This year’s theme of EPS is the avoidance of a second cold war. It’s a very urgent and necessary topic, for on its achievement rest our hopes for peace and security in the post-communist era.

And by peace – to bring in an economic consideration – I mean a peace dividend – the end of the insane expenditure on armaments, which is the only exception our rulers allow to fiscal austerity.

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Comment on the Wincott Lecture

On 13th November Martin Wolf gave the 2013 Wincott Lecture. Robert Skidelsky provided the comment. You can read Martin Wolf’s lecture, and access charts for this comment, at http://www.wincott.co.uk/lectures/2013

I propose to comment on Martin’s excellent lecture under three heads which all point to the central issue of how sustainable is the welcome recovery now taking place.

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