Robert Skidelsky
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House of Lords

Speech on the Budget
Robert Skidelsky
Hansard | Monday, December 04, 2017

 
7.47 pm
Lord Skidelsky (CB)

My Lords, I will concentrate, as is my wont, on the macroeconomic implications of the Budget. That is not to say that supply-side questions are not important—of course they are. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Maude, that a Government should not be exempt from the efficiency expected of the private sector. However, in general, efficiency is closely related to investment. The more investment there is, the more efficient an economy is likely to be, for the simple reason that there will be much less resistance to cutting costs—which in practice usually means laying off workers—if there are plenty of alternative jobs available.
 
We have 1.4 million people out of work—“too many”, the Chancellor rightly says.

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Autumn Statement: Economy
Robert Skidelsky
Hansard | Tuesday, November 29, 2016

 
 My Lords, it is always a great pleasure to follow the noble Lord, Lord Desai. I will take up one or two things he said, but a preliminary question that occurred to me is: if the private sector is so flush with money, why is it not investing more of it? Why does it need government help to do so? The answer that occurs to me is that the private sector does not see sufficient demand to justify the kind of investment that would employ those funds that are sitting idle. I will come to another point made by the noble Lord on the OBR in a moment.
 
As a long-term critic of the Government’s economic policy, I recognise that the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement has some good news in it. He has relaxed the absurd commitment to balance the budget by

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Speech on the Economy: Currency Fluctuations
Robert Skidelsky
Hansard | Thursday, November 17, 2016

 
 Volume 776
 
12.55 pm
 
My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh, for making this debate possible. The most dramatic economic effect of the United Kingdom’s Brexit vote has been the collapse of sterling. Since June, the pound has fallen by about 16% against a basket of currencies. Mervyn King, the former Governor of the Bank of England, has hailed the lower exchange rate as “a welcome change”. Indeed, with Britain’s current account deficit in the order of 7% of GDP—by far the largest since records started—depreciation could be regarded as a boon. But is it? That is the subject of our debate today.
 
There are two things to consider. The first and most urgent is the effect of sterling depreciation on our payments to, and

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On the Autumn Statement
Robert Skidelsky
Hansard | Thursday, December 10, 2015

 

Autumn Statement

Motion to Take Note

11.49 am

Moved by Lord Carrington of Fulham

That this House takes note of the economy in the light of the Autumn Statement.


12.28 pm

Lord Skidelsky (CB): My Lords, four minutes is hardly long enough to have a properly developed argument or debate, so I will confine myself to a number of propositions that I hope might at least excite the interest of the noble Lord, Lord O’Neill.

The first proposition is that the Chancellor has failed to meet his deficit reduction targets. In 2010, he said that the deficit would be down to zero by now; this year he is set to borrow £70 billion, and the balancing is postponed for five years. To me the explanation is clear enough: the Chancellor’s policies


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Freedom of Speech in Universities
Robert Skidelsky
Hansard | Thursday, November 26, 2015

 

Universities: Freedom of Speech

Motion to Take Note

1.07 pm

Moved by Baroness Deech

That this House takes note of the protection of freedom of speech in universities.


2.22 pm

Lord Skidelsky (CB): My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Baroness, Lady Deech, for making possible this debate. I shall draw your Lordships’ attention to two threats to free speech on the campus. In four minutes I have time for only two threats, but I think that they cover most of the ground.

The first threat comes from the Government. The state has a duty to protect its citizens from terrorism. The Government have conceived of that duty in part as preventing university students from being what they call “radicalised”. The Counter-Terrorism and Security


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