By Mike Steventon, Senior Partner of KPMG in Birmingham
Last week, the Chancellor responded to Lord Heseltine’s report on regional growth – ‘No Stone Unturned’ – and it came as no surprise that he chose to incorporate many of Lord Heseltine’s recommendations.
The Budget, due on 20 March, is just around the corner now and as we approach the halfway point in the current Parliament, the government’s strategy of combining austerity with recovery is having at best mixed results. Together with colleagues from tax and our public sector practice, I’ve posted some thoughts on KPMG’s budget website. We’ll be updating this as the budget approaches and on the day so do check back for further analysis and reaction.
By Andrew Smith, chief economist, KPMG in the UK
2012 proved disappointing for most advanced economies as unemployment remained stubbornly high and output wavered between expansion and contraction. Any improvement in 2013 will depend as much on political considerations as economic fundamentals.
By Kru Desai, KPMG’s head of Local Government
The six city deals announced last week are one of the first really visible manifestations of the government’s commitment to giving regions responsibility for their own achievements. They are an important transfer of power, putting city regions in the driving seat when it comes to securing economic growth.
By Alan Downey, KPMG’s Head of Public Sector
The recent accouncement on civil service reform does not come a moment too soon. The civil service as we know it is based on the 1853 Northcote-Trevelyan report and it is frankly remarkable that it has lasted so long. The world was very different then, with 16,000 civil servants, compared with 434,000 now. It is hardly surprising that a settlement designed to deal with a 19th century issues is creaking under 21st century demands.
By Andrew Smith, Chief Economist
Just a few years ago a eurozone breakup seemed inconceivable but ‘no bailout, no default, no exit’ no longer applies. After two bailouts and a debt restructuring, policymakers are openly discussing a Greek exit from the euro and financial markets are attempting to price it in. The UK may not be in the euro club, but that rather misses the point: we would not be immune from the fallout. For while the direct economic effects of a default and euro exit by a small country such as Greece would be limited, it is impossible to predict the ramifications of the ensuing financial disruption, which could be extremely severe.
By Michelle Quest, Head of People
It’s great to see that over 100 companies (including KPMG) have now signed up to the Deputy Prime Minister’s Business Compact to ensure that businesses’ doors are open to all, not just the few.
By Iain Hasdell, Head of Local & Regional Government
The Localism Bill has just received Royal Assent and has finally become the Localism Act.
By Richard Threlfall, UK Head of Infrastructure, Building and Construction
The Government this week announced a review of the Private Finance Initiative with the objective of finding a more cost effective and value for money route to private investment in the UK’s social and economic infrastructure.