Since You Asked

My column ran in the Financial Times comment section on Saturdays between 2011 and 2014.

A universal income is not such a silly idea

The concept of paying people to sit around has an upside, writes Tim Harford ‘Swiss to vote on 2,500 franc basic income for every adult.” Reuters, 4 October 2013 How much is that? It’s about £1,700 a month – over £20,000 a year. Payable to whom? Everybody, or at...

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Patience pays off for long-game investors

Stockpickers who persevere with their ‘pets’ are rewarded when they perform impressive profits “Neil Woodford, one of the colossi of British fund management, is leaving Invesco Perpetual after a quarter of a century to pursue his conviction that modern investment has...

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Dr Osborne’s bitter medicine is no cure

The chancellor’s claim that Britain’s slow recovery vindicates his policies is drivel ‘The International Monetary Fund has dropped its criticism of George Osborne’s austerity drive after revising up the UK’s growth forecast by more than any other leading economy.’...

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The price of a loaf is of little importance

Cameron’s critics chose a singularly useless indicator, writes Tim Harford “Clueless David Cameron doesn’t know the price of a value loaf of bread showing just how out of touch he is with the British public. And the PM risked alienating himself from voters further...

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An energy price cap that does not quite fit

Miliband has promised to pull the plug on a very bad thing ‘Ed Miliband defended his proposal to freeze energy prices ... His vow to stand up to “powerful vested interests that hold our economy back” was accompanied by a promise to freeze bills for 20 months if he...

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A primer on free primary school meals

We know that cost-free hot food boosts attainment but we have no idea why, says Tim Harford “Nick Clegg will attempt to distance himself from his Conservative coalition partners with a highly political £600m plan to give free school meals to children in their first...

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The enduring appeal of the plastic banknote

Durable and functional, the plastic stuff will be popular, writes Tim Harford ‘The Bank of England looks set to part company with paper banknotes after more than 300 years, becoming one of a growing number of central banks around the world to switch to plastic...

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Low pay and the rise of the machines

Labour could organise a Luddite revolution against technology ‘4.6 million Britons (20 per cent of all employees) earn below the Living Wage – a leap from 3.4 million (14 per cent) in 2009’ The Resolution Foundation – 4 September 2013 4.6m Britons don’t earn a living...

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