Merryn’s blog

Merryns blog

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.

Hedge funds – the failing sector just doesn’t get it on fees

Hedge funds have performed appallingly over the last few years. If it wants to survive, it really shouldn’t be charging such exorbitant fees, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

This one court decision could wreck Germany’s small business sector

The German constitutional court has made a ruling that could spell the end of the ‘Mittelstand’ system that makes up the backbone of the country’s economy.

Goodwill to all men: why we should be astonished by the UK welfare state

Let’s hear it for the taxpayers, says Merryn Somerset Webb. They provide a guaranteed income for every person in the country, plus state funded education and healthcare. And they ask for very little in return.

Shareholder value maximisation: a dumb idea that we really have to dump

The idea that a company has no responsibility other than to maximise value for its shareholders is bad for workers, shareholders and society as a whole, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

Fund managers: stop profiteering, start talking

Fund managers should act as the long-term company owners they are, not just as stockmarket profiteers. It’s part of what we stump up their fees for, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

Never pay bonuses to CEOs – it makes them worse at their job

The ‘candle task’ proves that high payments can make people worse at their job than no payment at all. Something to bear in mind when it comes to CEO pay.

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