Ross Clark

Ross Clark

Ross Clark is a leader writer and columnist who has written for The Spectator for three decades. His books include Not Zero and The Road to Southend Pier.

House prices aren’t falling any time soon

The thing about having three prominent house prices indices, all of which publish monthly figures, is that they are forever telling conflicting stories. Indeed, today’s Nationwide index, itself, nods in two different directions: prices were down 0.2 per cent in March, but the annual gain in prices was up from 1.2 per cent in February

Why the council tax rise on second homes helps no one

What a surprise. Given the choice of whether or not to double council tax for second home owners from next April, 153 English councils have already reportedly decided that yes, indeed they will. Even officials in that well-known holiday hotspot, Gravesham, have decided to introduce the levy, in spite of there being a mere 21

Ross Clark

Martin Lewis is wrong about the ‘energy poll tax’

Given that a fair proportion of the UK public seem to want Martin Lewis to be prime minister, the government might well hesitate to dismiss the Money Saving Expert’s latest grumble: that Ofgem’s cap on standing charges is to be jacked up from today – from 53 pence to 60 pence per day in the

Thames Water proves privatisation has failed

Why do the Conservatives find it so difficult to admit that the privatisation of public utilities has in many cases been a disaster? It was supposed to bring heaps of finance into public services, protect taxpayers from financial risk and bring prices down through competition. Yet we have ended up with energy prices fixed by

You’re not being paranoid: smart meters are out to get you

If anyone was still in doubt as to why the government is keen to press ‘smart’ meters onto us, those doubts will surely now be dispelled by the latest intervention of Ofgem, which has proposed abolishing the current electricity price cap and replacing it with a cap which varies throughout the day in response to

The pension triple lock is a drain on the taxpayer

Jeremy Hunt’s promise that the Conservative manifesto will protect the ‘triple lock’ on the state pension is a desperate measure to appeal to the one group of the population whom the Conservatives feel they can rely on. But taxpayers will not be thanking him in a few years’ time. On the contrary, by keeping the

Britain’s high street is still stuck in recession

So, is the recession over? The Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) retail sales figures show that sales volumes were flat in February, when many expected them to fall. Moreover, the increase in sales volumes for January was revised upwards from 3.4 per cent to 3.6 per cent, coming on the back of a sharp fall

Gove’s ‘war on landlords’ is not going to plan

Levelling up the housing market, it is fair to say, is not quite going according to plan. Rents in the year to February, the Office for National Statistics (ONS), reveals today increased by 9 per cent – the largest rise since the ONS started its rental price index. In some cases, tenants have been complaining

Jeremy Hunt should listen to James Dyson

All Sir James Dyson wanted was to do what hundreds of business people and lobbyists have done before him: spend a little time with the Chancellor of the Exchequer and have a good old moan – initially about research and development tax relief but then extending to other subjects such as corporation tax, high levels

Ed Miliband’s dangerous net zero fantasy

Ed Miliband set Labour back a decade when he not only failed to win the 2015 general election but went backwards, losing a net 26 seats and helping to usher in the disastrous era of Jeremy Corbyn. But could he now be about to undermine a Keir Starmer government too? Miliband has a little fantasy

The middle classes let Banksy get away with vandalism

This is a tale of two murals: one painted on the side of a building in Greenwich by an artist commissioned by the owner, the other scrawled on a building in Finsbury Park by a fly-by-night graffiti artist. You can probably guess which one the local authority has ordered to be removed under threat of

Vaughan Gething’s Covid failures

A man who has the honour of being his country’s first leader from an ethnic background but who comes to office with the baggage of a questionable performance running the health service during the pandemic. It could be Humza Yousaf, but equally it could now be Vaughan Gething, who was elected as Labour leader in

How WFH engineers caused an air traffic control meltdown

How lovely that engineers working for National Air Traffic Services (Nats) can work from home rather than having to slog it in to the company’s headquarters at Swanwick, Hampshire. Lovely, that is, for the engineers rather than for air passengers. A report by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has revealed the reason behind the meltdown

Who is going to pay for Rishi’s gas power stations?

The problem with intermittency of wind and solar energy is so obvious that you wonder why is has taken the Prime Minister this long to work out that we are going to carry on needing gas-fired power stations to fill in the gaps. In the case of solar energy this is, of course, every evening.

‘Levelling up’ is finished

Just what has the government done to try to retain the Red Wall vote? It seemed when they won a majority of 80 in 2019, thanks largely to a big switch of working class votes in peripheral areas of the Midlands and North, away from the main cities – that Boris Johnson and his ministers got

Why are UK shares doing so badly?

What is wrong with UK shares? While the US, European and Japanese stock markets reach new highs, UK markets are stuck in a deep rut. The FTSE 1000 is just 10 per cent higher than it was on the last day of last century. As for the FTSE 250, small cap and AIM markets –

Is Amnesty right that Britain has a black mould epidemic?

Are large numbers of children in Britain being killed by black mould in their homes? That seems to be the assertion made by Amnesty International in a short film featuring Olivia Colman. Colman plays a lapsed lawyer whose career is reignited by the injustice suffered by a neighbour whose baby dies. The local council housing

The farce of Drax’s wood pellets

When is the government going to stop pretending that chopping down trees in North American forests and shipping them across the Atlantic to burn them in UK power stations is a zero-carbon form of energy? The environmental-friendliness of Drax power station in North Yorkshire has been called into question yet again this week after BBC

How Hunt’s Budget could put Starmer in a bind

Time was when a chancellor had to resign for leaking the Budget – Hugh Dalton famously lost his job after telling a reporter a few details of what he was about to deliver. Dalton assumed it was past the newspaper’s deadline, but he was wrong. Nowadays, it seems to have become customary for chancellors to

John Kerry has unwittingly exposed the climate change wheeze

Here’s a good wheeze: prod every last inch of your own country, open the taps and become the world’s largest producer of fossil fuels. Then, when other countries start to try to develop their own resources, tell them they mustn’t, for the good of the planet. In other words, make them all dependent on you.