Merryn’s blog

Merryns blog

Thinking of joining a private sector union? Now’s the time

The balance between profits and wages is out of whack. But wages for workers in unions are growing faster than those not in unions.

BA: the central banker in the sky 

The changes British Airways is making to its Avios rewards scheme will be very familiar indeed to the world’s central bankers, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

Why we can't make the old spend enough to save the UK economy

The number of households headed by someone over 50 is growing. Merryn Somerset Webb explains why that’s especially problematic for Britain.

Germans need to wake up to the truth about who’s subsidising who in Europe

German taxpayers like to think they are financing the lifestyles of their feckless southern cousins. But the truth is rather different, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

London house prices: how demand has created its own supply

The supply of luxury properties in the capital has found its own ways of meeting demand, says Merryn Somerset Webb. That can only mean one thing for property prices.

Why we’re collecting less income tax – the rise of the black economy

The economy is improving, a but the amount of personal income tax raised isn’t rising. One reason is the sheer size of the black economy, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

China’s official growth figures are made up. Don’t believe them for a minute

Officially, the Chinese economy is still growing at over 7%. But there is no way that is true, says Merryn Somerset Webb. Here’s why.

Pensioner bonds: the total cost to the taxpayer

Pensioner bonds are “ludicrously expensive” for the taxpayer, and make a mockery of the NS&I mission statement to reduce the cost of government borrowing.

Want a nice house in Scotland? The SNP wants it to cost you

The SNP’s new stamp duty equivalent for Scotland, appears to have been designed to send a clear message to the well off in Scotland – expect devolution to mean you pay more tax.

A warning to Scotland: 'Tax competition' matters

The Scottish government’s first use of a devolved tax was quickly revised, after being undercut by tax competition from the rest of the UK.

Time to rethink non-means-tested benefits for pensioners

Pensioner bonds are effectively another non-means-tested benefit for pensioners. It’s time we rethought the whole lot of them.

Pensioner bonds: a taxpayer-funded bribe for elderly voters

Pensioner bonds are a transfer of wealth from the young – who tend not to vote – to the old, who do. Making voting compulsory would stop this bribery, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

Now might be a good time to buy a house in the north

London house prices have diverged greatly from the rest of the country, says Merryn Somerset Webb. Get ready for the snap-back.

Recession? What recession?

For the vast majority of gainfully employed people in Britain, the recession was a non-event, says Merryn Somerset Webb. In fact, things have been pretty good.

Rent controls are an awful solution to the high cost of renting

With the cost of renting accommodation rising fast, it might seem like there is a case for rent controls. But the problem isn’t high rents, says Merryn Somerset Webb, it’s high house prices.

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