This week in MoneyWeek: George Osborne’s grand plan

From George Osborne's plan for pensions, to a lesson from history for central bankers, Ben Judge looks at what's in this week's issue of MoneyWeek magazine.


This week, as promised, MoneyWeek magazine looks in some depth at the changes George Osborne is making to the way we save.

"Last week's Budget made it clear that the chancellor is planning the wholesale dismantling of the current pensions system", says Charlie Corbett. Things will undoubtedly get better in the long run, but in the short term it's something of a confusing mess. We've still got pensions, but now we've also got a whole range of Isas, Lisas, and Help to Buysas to get to grips with.

Charlie takes a look at what it all means, and picks the best ways to squirrel your cash away to take full advantage of the various tax breaks.

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If you'd like a little help navigating the ever-increasing range of tax-efficient savings products, why not sign up to MoneyWeek magazine now?

A lesson from history for central bankers

Edward Chancellor has a lesson for central bankers hell bent on stimulating the world out of its economic inertia.

He takes us back 300 years to France, and recounts the tale of John Law. France had too much debt, and its interest rates were too high. Law was appointed France's controller general of finance, set up the Banque Gnrale, and flooded the country with paper money in an effort to stimulate the economy.

All was well for a while, but surprise, surprise it all went horribly wrong. In the end, he was lucky to escape the country with his life. Something today's central bankers would do very well to take note of, says Edward.

The EU an anti-democratic, crony capitalist state

This week, Merryn interviews economist Bernard Connolly. Connolly used to work at the heart of the EU, but I think it's safe to say he's not a fan now. The EU is "explicitly anti-democratic", says Connolly. It is a "crony capitalist state" aiming at "eliminating the rule of law". It won't be long before it's a full-on "bureaucratic socialist state", he says.

It might be democratic on paper we can vote for MEPs, for example but then, so was Stalin's Russia, says Connolly: "Stalin's Soviet constitution of 1938 was the most perfectly democratic ever devised on paper".

The only way the EU will survive is as an "anti-democratic, illegitimate empire", says Connolly, "which no one in their right mind would want to be part of".

Merryn explores the issues with him in much more depth in the magazine, so why not sign up now?

Lobster wars

Matthew Lynn asks what Lidl's £4.99 lobsters can teach us about the EU. Sweden is demanding a ban on the import of American lobsters, ostensibly for environmental reasons they escape and wreak havoc among Europe's native lobsters, apparently. But "the fact that American lobster imports to Europe now amount to £100m a year, largely because they are cheaper, has nothing to do with it", says Matthew, tongue firmly in his cheek.

His serious point is that the EU has become very good at "blocking imports by the backdoor" by exploiting "rules on health and safety, labelling, place of origin, market dominance and unfair pricing". Lobsters are just the latest example of this.

Women in business, pop and pottery

According to the International Monetary Fund's Christine Lagarde, women make better managers than men. It's a theme that's been taken up by a US funds group that has launched an exchange-traded fund which invests in companies that rank "high on gender diversity". Matthew Partridge looks at the evidence to find out if the presence of women on the board really can boost your returns.

Natalie Stanton looks at when women will actually be able to retire. With many women affected by the changes in the state retirement age, it's not as straightforward as it might seem.

Elsewhere, Simon Wilson looks at George Osborne's new tax on fizzy drinks. The idea is to "discourage unhealthy habits that lead to obesity" but will it actually work? Simon looks at the details of the scheme, weighs up the evidence for the tax, and asks if there's any alternative.

On his shares pages, Alex Williams takes a look at a pottery firm "leading a renaissance in Britain's once-dominant ceramics industry", and picks a risky share to take a punt on if you feel like a gamble. Plus, there's the regular roundup of the best share tips from the rest of the media's financial pages.

There's much more in the magazine far too much to mention in a short email like this. Chris Carter looks at four holidays for those on a budget; we've got eight of the best houses you can buy for £400,000; and we take a look at the Maserati Levante a sporty SUV that's been 13 years in the making.

To get all this and more, sign up to MoneyWeek now.

Ben Judge

Ben studied modern languages at London University's Queen Mary College. After dabbling unhappily in local government finance for a while, he went to work for The Scotsman newspaper in Edinburgh. The launch of the paper's website,, in the early years of the dotcom craze, saw Ben move online to manage the Business and Motors channels before becoming deputy editor with responsibility for all aspects of online production for The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and the Edinburgh Evening News websites, along with the papers' Edinburgh Festivals website.

Ben joined MoneyWeek as website editor in 2008, just as the Great Financial Crisis was brewing. He has written extensively for the website and magazine, with a particular emphasis on alternative finance and fintech, including blockchain and bitcoin. As an early adopter of bitcoin, Ben bought when the price was under $200, but went on to spend it all on foolish fripperies.