Julian Jessop

Julian Jessop (@julianhjessop) is an independent economist, and a fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs.

Rachel Reeves ‘£4,800’ mortgage claim is a house of cards

Labour’s Rachel Reeves has scored some political points this week by claiming that the Conservatives have made £71 billion of ‘unfunded policy pledges’, and that this will ‘mean £4,800 on your mortgage’. These calculations are simply absurd and easy to knock down. Let us start with the ‘£71 billion’. This figure first appeared in a

How much should we fear the return of the ‘bond vigilantes’?

BlackRock’s UK chief investment strategist, Vivek Paul, has warned this week that pre-election promises of large tax cuts or spending increases could unsettle the bond markets again. There are clear echoes here of the turmoil that followed the Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng mini-Budget back in 2022. How worried should we be? These warnings should

Is printing too much money the real cause of inflation?

Every month, the Bank of England publishes new data on the flows of money and credit around the UK economy. Most commentators focus on the ‘credit’ part – particularly the amount of mortgage and credit card borrowing. In contrast, the ‘money’ part rarely gets a mention.  This is understandable. After all, good luck explaining what

Drama queens: the return of Harry and Meghan

36 min listen

In this week’s episode: We look ahead to Harry and Meghan’s UK tour next week, how will they be received? Freddy Gray and Tanya Gold join the Edition podcast to discuss (01:01). Also this week: In the Spectator magazine, our Economics Editor Kate Andrews sat down with the three economists, or ‘Trussketeers’, that are informing

Crash test: the new era of economic uncertainty

40 min listen

On the podcast: The Spectator’s economics editor Kate Andrews looks back on a week of economic turbulence and asks whether we should be worried, for her cover piece in the magazine. She is joined by the economist – and former ‘Trussketeer’ – Julian Jessop, to discuss whether we are entering a new era of economic uncertainty

What economic crisis comes next?

As we come to the end of an era in which money was practically free, the big question is what the fallout will be from rising interest rates. It isn’t difficult to spot possible problems. Many governments look vulnerable. There are concerns about the UK, where the national debt is now equivalent to roughly 100

Have we become too dependent on the state?

I have to tip my hat to Civitas. The ‘Tufton Street’ think tank made quite a splash on Monday, including bagging the front page of the Daily Mail, with two striking claims. One was that more than half of UK households now receive more in benefits from the government than they pay in tax. The

Liz Truss: my part in her downfall

Now that the final curtain has fallen on Liz Truss’s brief and tumultuous premiership, it is time for reflection. A chance to set the record straight and also to own up to mistakes – especially for those of us who tried to advise her. What went wrong? Yes, the tipping point was Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-Budget.

The Energy Price Guarantee may cost much less than is feared

Critics of ‘Trussonomics’ – and there are many – have been quick to claim that the new energy price plan puts its economic credibility at risk. Indeed, early estimates suggested that the ‘Energy Price Guarantee’ could cost the taxpayer £150 billion or more over two years, making it the most expensive economic policy in history.

An energy price freeze is a very bad idea

The confirmation of the huge jump in the Ofgem cap on domestic energy bills in October, and forecasts of even worse to come, have fuelled more calls for prices to be frozen at current levels. This is not a completely daft idea, but it is not a good one either. There is no shortage of

Cutting taxes isn’t irresponsible

Everyone is supposed to have their 15 minutes of fame. Perhaps I have just had mine, after the contenders for the Tory leadership were invited to endorse the ‘charter for tax cuts’ that I co-wrote for Conservative Way Forward. It was certainly pretty cool to be namechecked at the launch event on Monday both by

Of course we can afford to cut taxes

The latest data on the UK’s public finances have provided more ammunition for those arguing that the government cannot afford to cut taxes. However, the economic reality is far more nuanced – especially when it comes to interest payments. The bad news is that the government borrowed another £14 billion in May, £3.7 billion more

Are we heading for a Platinum Jubilee recession?

Occasionally I despair of my own profession. Even economists should be able to enjoy a long weekend. Yet some of us are stuck debunking commentary on the economic impact of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations – much of which justifies the old tag of the ‘dismal science’. The long Jubilee weekend will indeed mean that

The good economic news about people’s finances

If you believe the media coverage of the latest consumer confidence surveys, household spending is set to collapse under the weight of the cost of living crisis, dragging the UK economy into a deep recession. But how reliable are these signals? As always, it is worth digging past the headlines. The GfK measure of consumer

Are sanctions on Russia failing?

Sanctions are the West’s key weapon in the fight against Putin, but there are signs that Russia’s economy and financial system is weathering the storm better than expected. The rouble has already bounced back and Russia has been able to continue to service its debts, with only minor hiccups. A closer look however reveals that sanctions are

Ignore the dollar doomsayers

So, it’s official. The global rating agency S&P has determined that the Russian government has defaulted on part of its international debt. In itself, this is not as big a deal as it may sound. Nonetheless, the circumstances have revived concerns about the future of the US dollar as the reserve asset of choice for

What happens if Russia defaults?

Well down the list of things to worry about as the ghastly Ukrainian tragedy unfolds is the high probability that the Russian government will stop paying its international debts. But this risk should certainly be somewhere on that list – as the fallout from past defaults has shown. We have been here several times before. Moscow

The ONS’s inflation measurement change isn’t ‘new’

The way we measure inflation is changing, and there could hardly be a less crucial time for it to do so. The ONS will be updating the method for collecting individual prices from supermarkets, and will also publish new figures on inflation rates for different types of household. The anti-poverty campaigner Jack Monroe has tweeted that the

Scotland’s four-day week policy would be a disaster

A shock poll commissioned by the IPPR Scotland thinktank has revealed this week that more than 80 per cent of Scots would like to work fewer hours for the same pay. This may well prompt further revelations about the religious leanings of the Pope, or the toilet habits of bears, but in the meantime, the

Ignore the gloomsters, the economy is roaring back

The horror! Yesterday we discovered that UK economic output — as measured by GDP — fell by 1.6 per cent in the first quarter of the year, 0.1 per cent worse than the 1.5 per cent originally reported. This is practically a rounding error. To put it in context, as recently as March the Office for Budget