David Prosser: Is it time for the Bank to show us all the money?
Outlook: It was fascinating to hear Sushil Wadhwani, the eminent economist who these days runs a fund management company, say the Bank of England was not being sufficiently imaginative with its £75bn quantitative easing scheme.
He pointed out that for just £15bn, the Bank could hand every adult in the country a £300 voucher to spend as they see fit, which would be a much more direct boost to demand.
The idea is not as crazy as it sounds – the Japanese tried something very similar in 1998. The worry would be that the money would be saved and not spent – you could make people spend their vouchers, but you couldn't prevent them just buying stuff they would otherwise have bought with cash – which would undermine the idea. Still, there would surely be at least some boost to consumer spending.
There is, in any case, scepticism about the effectiveness of quantitative easing itself. It's a policy aimed at driving down the cost of credit, improving its availability. But many believe the problem is a lack of demand for credit from cautious households and businesses, rather than a lack of supply.
The Japanese experience is worth studying – there may be ways to ensure as much as possible of any hand-out goes towards boosting demand rather than savings balances. It's a desperate measure, no doubt, but these are desperate times – just ask Asos, the online retail sensation of the past few years, which yesterday said it was seeing almost no growth at all in the UK.
- 1 BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
- 2 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 3 Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
- 4 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
iJobs Money & Business
£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...
£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....
£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...