Australia’s government is set to unveil its latest budget as it faces questions about its handling of the economy ahead of an election this year.
More here: Australia set to unveil new budget
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Australia’s government is set to unveil its latest budget as it faces questions about its handling of the economy ahead of an election this year.
More here: Australia set to unveil new budget
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TORONTO, May 10, 2013
TORONTO, May 10, 2013 /CNW/ – St Andrew Goldfields Ltd. (T-SAS) (OTCQX-STADF), (“SAS” or the “Company”) today announced that each of the nominees for
director of the Company as listed in the Company’s 2013 Management
Information Circular (available under the Company’s profile on SEDAR at
www.sedar.com and on the Company’s website at www.sasgoldmines.com) were elected at its Annual and Special Meeting of Shareholders held on
May 9, 2013.
Shares in Lynas, which has a rare earth plant in Malaysia, surge 16% after the National Front coalition retains power in that country’s general election.
View post: Lynas shares rise on Malaysian poll
Osborne was seen to be shedding a tear at Thatcher’s funeral, which prompted unkind remarks from some of his own party
In the space of a few minutes, the world was given a rare glimpse of a more complex side to George Osborne when the chancellor shed a tear during Lady Thatcher’s funeral.
Tory MPs, who regard Osborne as aloof and little too grand for their tastes, privately joked that the chancellor was showing his pain after it was announced yesterday that unemployment increased by 70,000 in the three months to the end of February.
But the chancellor suggested he cried for the simple reason that he found the service at St Paul’s Cathedral immensely touching. “A moving, almost overwhelming day,” the chancellor tweeted shortly after leaving the cathedral.
Osborne appeared emotional at Thatcher’s funeral after the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, the bishop of London, had said “our hearts go out” to Thatcher’s children, Mark and Carol, and the rest of their family.
He then blinked repeatedly, apparently fighting tears, as Chartres related a story about how a young boy wrote to Thatcher asking if she had ever done wrong. Osborne managed a brief smile before shedding a tear, prompting a mini-Twitter storm.
His tears contrasted with David Cameron, who smiled for a longer period during the bishop’s story and showed no other emotions at that stage. The prime minister has a better public image than the chancellor but lacks his humour and warmth in private.
The chancellor, whose father-in-law, Lord Howell of Guildford, was in Thatcher’s first cabinet, admitted last week in a Times article that he had little personal connection with the late prime minister. But he did recall taking his young son to meet Thatcher for tea. Howell, a Foreign Office minister for two years of Cameron’s government, also attended the funeral.
But Conservatives lined up to mock the chancellor. One said: “Perhaps George had just read what Oscar Wilde said of Little Nell.” Wilde reputedly said of Nell’s death in Dickens’ novel The Old Curiosity Shop: “One would have to have a heart of stone to read the death of little Nell without dissolving into tears … of laughter.”
Osborne has been under huge immense political pressure after admitting that he will fail to meet his two main fiscal targets – eliminating the fiscal deficit by the next election and ensuring that debt is falling as a share of GDP by 2016.
As the Tories’ main political strategist, Osborne knows he risks becoming a major liability for the party before the general election in 2015. He gave another display of unease this month in front of a group of workers at the main Morrisons distribution centre for the south of England in Sittingbourne, Kent.
But some argue that the tears may soften Osborne’s image. Andrew Lilico, former chief economist of the centre-right Policy Exchange thinktank, tweeted: “Shame on all of you that are mocking Osborne for crying at a funeral. Do you never cry yourselves?”
TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – April 16, 2013) - According to a recent poll commissioned by the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario and conducted by Harris-Decima, 69 per cent of Ontarians believe the Liberal government broke the spirit of their election promise to give students and their families 30 per cent off the cost of tuition fees.
View original post here: Seven in Ten Ontarians Believe Liberals Broke Tuition Fee Promise
The Budget allows further departmental spending cuts to be deferred until after the next election, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
Continue reading here: Budget ‘defers cuts until 2015-16′
George Osborne’s spending cuts will leave huge gap in government finances, says the Institute for Fiscal Studies
Tax rises of up to £9bn – equal to a 2p increase in the basic rate of income tax – could be imposed after the next general election to limit further cuts in public spending, experts warned on Thursday.
The scale of the spending cuts scheduled for 2015 in George Osborne’s budget will be so difficult to implement an incoming government would have little alternative but to raise taxes or borrow more, the Institute for Fiscal Studies said.
The IFS, which produces a keenly watched analysis of the chancellor’s budget, gave its warning after the Treasury’s independent forecaster, the Office for Budget Responsibility, warned that growth would halve this year to 0.6% and the recovery would be weaker than predicted only in December.
There was speculation in the City following the poor figures that the UK could face its second credit downgrade as soon as the weekend. Ratings agencies Standard & Poor’s and Fitch have the UK on negative watch and both have warned that a weakening of the recovery could lead to their stripping Britain of its AAA status. Osborne would face a second humiliation after Moody’s issued a downgrade notice last month.
In a budget that kept the coalition tied to its austerity theme, Osborne was forced to admit that the UK would take two years longer to push the annual deficit below 3%. A rise in the personal income tax threshold to £10,000 next year, together with a 1p cut in beer duty and the abolition of a planned fuel duty rise in the autumn, were offset by a further tightening of Whitehall budgets to leave what the IFS described as a fiscally neutral budget that masked a further deterioration in the government’s finances.
Osborne plans to keep spending at its current level until 2015 before a second wave of steep cuts takes effect up to 2018. The IFS said the government was delaying some austerity measures until after 2015, leaving the next government to bridge a large gap in Whitehall’s finances.
Rowena Crawford of the IFS said politicians were likely to prefer tax rises to avoid making further spending cuts. “That is after an election and it is much more possible that a future government will prefer to increase taxes instead,” she said.
Tony Travers, a director of research at the London School of Economics and an expert on local government finance, told Public Finance magazine: “You wouldn’t know it from the headline figures, but local government, along with some other unprotected and unloved public services, looks likely to face at least 50% spending cuts between 2011-12 and 2017-2018.”
Spending figures until 2018 show the debt bill has risen by £70bn since forecasts in the autumn statement and by almost £250bn since the coalition took office.
The IFS criticised Osborne for devoting senior civil servants’ time to manipulating public spending figures to meet a pledge that the deficit would fall in successive years. The chancellor grabbed £10.9bn in underspends by Whitehall departments to squeak this year’s debt bill under last year’s £120bn deficit by £100m. More than £2bn came from an underspend in the NHS while a further £3bn came from defence.
He also delayed payments to bodies such as the World Bank and the European Union and brought forward a planned cut in a long-standing national insurance benefit to final salary pension schemes to reduce the annual bill. Some budget spending commitments were also delayed until after the election – including a £3bn infrastructure programme championed by the business secretary, Vince Cable, and £1bn for social care – which will not take effect until after April 2015.
The IFS said a ringfence around the NHS, schools, international development and defence equipment to protect them from cuts left further reductions in departmental spending limits to fall disproportionately on the remaining services.
Under pressure from backbench Tory MPs to sweeten the pill of welfare cuts already scheduled to hit this year, Osborne chose to let borrowing rise higher over the next two years than the government planned.
Paul Johnson, the IFS director, said: “Year-on-year real cuts in departmental spending have effectively come to an end for the period of this parliament.” Tax cuts in the budget entailed a “modest loosening” in the next two years.
He pointed to a Treasury note in the budget documents saying bridging the gap between lower than expected tax receipts and spending commitments would need to be addressed by tax changes.
Just before the general election of 2010, Mervyn King reportedly declared the upcoming poll would be ‘a good election to lose’
Just a week before the general election of 2010, a striking warning from Mervyn King made its way into the public domain. At a private lunch, it was reported, the Bank of England governor had declared the upcoming poll would be “a good election to lose“. “He told me whoever wins this election will be out of power for a whole generation because of how tough the fiscal austerity will have to be,” reported Mr King’s lunch companion. The implication was clear: the government that took over in May 2010 would have the near-impossible task of sorting out a broken economy and wrecked public finances: a tough, thankless job – but an essential one.
As dust settles on the budget, one inescapable thought is that if 2010 was a good election to lose then so too is 2015. Because George Osborne’s fourth red book indicates that Britain’s economy has got weaker, not stronger, with the result that the public finance mess is getting bigger. The task that Mr King identified as so vital to carry out this parliament will now drag on until well into the end of this decade.
The Bank governor obviously did not mean to suggest that any political party should actually throw the general election; he was suggesting the difficulty of the victor’s task. And yet, as the well-respected Institute for Fiscal Studies pointed out in the post-budget analysis, the scale of the task for the winner of the next election is at least as tough, if not even tougher. Consider this finding: in the first three years of this coalition, spending across government departments was cut by 8.9%. That led to the layoff of hundreds of thousands of public-sector workers, a sharp squeeze on the pay of those still in employment, and in some cases toxic industrial relations between the government and its own civil servants. It also appears to have made some government departments far less effective. As part of its £2bn cuts programme, Revenue and Customs lost 10,000 staff. The result, according to successive reports from the Public Accounts Committee, has been “unacceptable” customer service, “disgraceful” treatment of taxpayers making enquiries, and an inability to deal with tax avoiders – a lack of competence costing £5bn a year. If all that sounds terrible, then consider: on the coalition’s current projections, the pace of cuts is set to accelerate after the next election. The cuts will continue all the way to 2018, by which point government departments will be over 18% smaller than they were in 2010. If these cuts are carried out, then what has happened at Revenue and Customs could well be the tip of the iceberg: government departments will be so etiolated it is hard to see how some will be able to carry out their core task.
The reason why these cuts are mounting up is not hard to state: as the economy has failed to pick up, so tax revenues have continued to undershoot and the public debt pile has only grown. This week’s budget saw another round of downgraded forecasts for growth and raised predictions for borrowing. George Osborne is now on course to borrow £245bn more than originally planned. What’s more, as the IFS pointed out the chancellor’s own forecaster, the Office for Budget Responsibility, is now more pessimistic about the underlying strength of the economy. After the banking crash of 2008, the official estimates for the rate at which the UK could sustainably grow were reduced; this week they were reduced further. When Gordon Brown was chancellor, it was assumed that UK GDP could grow 2.75% a year, which was always too optimistic; but now the official assumption is closer to 2.1%.
The next government does not have to make cuts in quite this fashion, as the IFS made clear. It could make gentler cuts all the way till 2020. Or it could tax more, by increasing the range of goods subject to VAT. It could even increase income tax – although that hasn’t happened since 1975. But where Westminster once assumed that the economy would be growing strongly by 2015 and the public finances restored, it is now clear that Britain faces quite a few more years of privation.
President Francois Hollande admits France’s 2013 budget deficit will be higher than the 3% level he promised during last year’s election.
Go here to see the original: France to break deficit pledge
Italians this week have voted their discontents, their divisions, and their fantasies. Not so very different, then, from other European electorates
Italians this week have voted their discontents, their divisions, and their fantasies. Not so very different, then, from other European electorates. But in Italy the political system, in part because of Silvio Berlusconi’s malign institutional heritage, seems perfectly designed to magnify all three.
The result has scared Brussels and Berlin, scared the markets, and scared Italians themselves. What have they wrought? Is Italy headed for permanent political crisis? And could this vote endanger the already threatened common currency, with all which that implies for Europe and its future?
Asked a few years ago whether he was worried about the political situation in his country, an Italian economist replied: “I’m not worried, but I am desperate.” There is indeed something about Italian politics, at least since the rise of Mr Berlusconi, which induces a state of chronic desperation. Italy “has been in a political, economic and moral crisis for the past 20 years,” observed one shrewd student of its affairs, “as it never really succeeded in achieving agreement over reforms” following the collapse of the old party system in 1992. Well, it is still far from that today, although the efforts of Pier Luigi Bersani to tempt the Five Star movement of Beppe Grillo into a common reform programme may offer some hope for the future.
Five Star campaigned, in essence, on the Italian equivalent of the American slogan “Throw the bums out”. It did not entirely succeed in that: Mr Berlusconi, the biggest villain of the piece for the grillini, has ended up in a powerful position in the upper house, although he cannot veto the Bersani-Grillo partnership which, if it happens, may turn out to be a way forward for the country.
But, so far, how the Italians are going to get out of this mess is anybody’s guess. A grand coalition of left and right is a possibility, and so is the deal between the centre left and the Five Star movement which Mr Bersani is exploring . But how would either cope with a renewed economic storm, interest rates shooting up, austerity packages unravelling, grim messages from Angela Merkel? How long could such unnatural marriages last?
And if such a government set out to call fresh elections, perhaps with a new electoral law, how would the established parties avert an even greater triumph for Beppe’s people? That would not clear up the mess: it would merely create a new one. So, on one level, this was yet another election which failed to solve Italy’s chronic political problems. On another, it was a verdict on the German-led austerity policy which is Europe’s current remedy for its common currency and other economic ills. Mario Monti, austerity’s main man in Italy, went down with a bang, and Mr Grillo’s pledge of a referendum on the euro certainly played a part in the success of his movement.
This was an Italy saying no to austerity. And, with unemployment at more than 11%, according to a recent article in Le Monde, more than 100,000 small firms, the backbone of the Italian economy, closing in 2012, and the number of graduates leaving the country reaching a million, that is an understandable negative. Such a verdict cannot be wished away. It is of course far from the first such judgment. The backlash against austerity has brought down incumbent after incumbent across Europe, and, most recently, François Hollande’s victory owed something to his pledge to fight austerity. But Italy is the eurozone’s third-largest economy, and the vote there this time went less to candidates promising to soften or contest austerity, like Mr Hollande and Mr Bersani, than to those saying, or hinting, that they would reject it.
The German government will be forced to reconsider – or, rather, to reconsider even more than it already reluctantly has. France, coping with its own slipping economic performance, also has difficult choices. In retrospect, 25 February 2013 may go down as the day when Europe’s austerity policies, at least as originally conceived, finally hit the buffers.