So, straight to the two questions that must be asked at this time of year. How did the year go? (Or should that be, where did the year go?), closely followed by, what does the new year hold for us all?
The two main barometers providing answers to both questions, according to the economic philosophy of yours truly, (and I shall name these in order of priority) are:
1. The sporting health of the nation, and
2. The Bank of England Financial Stability Report
I shall not attempt to justify the use of my barometric system (in the tried and tested fashion of most economists), but I will expand on it.
The Sporting Health of the Nation
2012 is my benchmark for sporting excellence by which all other years will be judged and most would agree it was exceptional!
But, what of 2014? Well, a quick look at the short-list for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year gives a great reminder of the events of 2014 and the success that has been achieved. Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European Champions abound:
Rory Mcllroy – Golf World No.1
Lewis Hamilton – F1 Champion
Gareth Bale – Most Expensive Footballer
Max Whitlock – Gymnast
Adam Peaty – Swimmer
Carl Froch – World Champion Boxer
Charlotte Dujardin – Dressage
Jo Pavey – Athlete
Lizzy Yarnold – Skeleton
Kelly Gallagher/Charlotte Evans – Paralympic Skier
2014 is a year that featured the Football World Cup, Winter Olympics, Ryder Cup and the Commonwealth Games. Enough said about the Football, but the other major events gave “us” some great successes to celebrate. Fortunately “us” still includes Scotland – just as well as the BBC’s Sports Personality is being broadcast from Glasgow and our Scottish cousins contributed handsomely to the successes we enjoyed!
Sports Report: All in all a very good year. Well done GB!
And so, on to the economy……..
Bank of England, Financial Stability Report, June 2014
I take as my text the following extract from The Bank of England website:
FINANCIAL STABILITY REPORT PRESS CONFERENCE
Thursday 26 June 2014
Opening Remarks by the Governor
“With the recovery in the UK economy broadening and gaining momentum in recent months, the
Bank of England is now focussed on turning that recovery into a durable expansion.”
So that’s where we were according to Mark Carney mid term in 2014. It is in fact the latest published Financial Stability Report, and of course you are welcome to visit the BOE website for to read an awful lot of detail, for yourself!
What about George Osborne’s Autumn Statement? What can we learn from this?
I quote from The Times’ Economic Editor, hot off the press, shortly after the Chancellor’s statement:
“No wonder Ed Balls looked dazed as he took the floor after the chancellor’s autumn statement.
George Osborne had not only shot Labour’s fox, with grandstanding giveaways to homeowners and the low paid as well as a fierce attack on banks and those serial tax dodgers Amazon and Google, but he’d left £23 billion in the kitty for Conservative giveaways if they win the election.
It was a magician’s mini-budget. As with most tricks, though, it was largely sleight of hand.”
So there we have it. We should not be surprised with the uncertainty that always exists towards the build up to a General Election.
Headmasters Report on end of Term: GB should be cautiously optimistic. Good progress has been made. Keep it up!
Finally, what does 2015 have in store for us? Certainly some challenges but also many opportunities! Here at Langdowns we’ll come back from the Christmas break, rested and with renewed energy to help our clients resist the challenges and seize the opportunities that present themselves.
My forecast: England to beat the All Blacks in a close Rugby World Cup final at Twickenham on 31st October 2015. Ho Ho Ho!
Happy Christmas and very best wishes for 2015.