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  • nicked.

  • Austin, Thank you for joining us.

  • Thank you very much for your time today.

  • On this rather surprisingly eventful day, we were told not to expect any surprises.

  • And number 10 is telling us of Senator Jeffords resignation.

  • Nothing to see here.

  • Move along.

  • Totally ordinary.

  • Nick, you're in the treasury for many years.

  • Is that how it feels to you as you watch today Unfold?

  • No.

  • Clearly.

  • Ah, Mr Javert is resignation.

  • It was not expected.

  • It wasn't in the script.

  • It certainly hadn't been brief.

  • But these?

  • I mean, on the one hand, these things happening.

  • Reshuffles.

  • On the other hand, it normally happen to translators on dhe, um, trances.

  • Resigning eyes always quite a serious event.

  • Um, of see Mr Davies resigned.

  • Norman Lamont.

  • I think it's fair to say was sacked.

  • Nigel Lawson definitely resigned.

  • But in each of these cases, it didn't end very well for the prime minister at Torsten.

  • Does this have any echoes in history, or are we looking at a rather unique moment?

  • I think the thing that is slightly unique about it is because chances do go whether by choice or not.

  • The unique thing is that the degree of which the timing of the going is sent me by accident, I think is unusual.

  • The level of the level off going into a process with a reasonably exactly relaxed attitude to whether or not you would have a chance to by the end of the day is unusual.

  • Monkey will do not go into reshuffles in doubt about who the chance to is coming out on.

  • That appears to be in how we started today, and we've ended with one outcome.

  • But that is unusual on what what we're being told is that a lot Number 10 wanted was a David Cameron George Osborne relationship.

  • Nothing to see here.

  • Perfectly normal, just two teams humming is one.

  • But that wasn't quite how it was in those days when George was one had his own specially selected team.

  • It was number 10 crawling all over the budget.

  • Things first say that in opposition wth E Cameron Osborne, advisers were pretty interchangeable.

  • They all work for the same floor in in their office, but once in dining street, the teams were very separate.

  • Yes, they worked very closely together, but it was on the basis that the Treasury was there Thio take the lead in advising on economic issues.

  • Andi, it's also fair.

  • Say Cameron didn't have an economic advisor, Um, so it was very clear where the advice was coming from.

  • I think I think this is qualitatively different.

  • I think we should recover.

  • Is like everyone in Westminster on other advisers loves Talking about advisors is if that's the issue.

  • Like the relationship between in David Cameron and George Osborne's teams was to do with the principles it was to do with the ratio between David Cameron and George Osborne, the advisers, the structure of your advisors who sits in which office all the rest is all window dressing.

  • That's what follows from the structure of the relationship between the prime minister chancellor.

  • And that is what matters.

  • Which is why, if it's true that the reason he is going is because off that they made suggestions for changing individual sets of advisers, then that is a bad way to decide to your chances because, he advises, is not the issue issues are.

  • You either want an individual to be your chance to take the big economic decisions with you that need taking or you don't and it does not matter who it's worth recalling that Nigel Awesome resigned over Mrs Thatcher, choosing to have Alan Walters, her advisor.

  • But actually, the reason why Nigel Wilson really resigned wasn't there was a big difference of policy.

  • Now, in this case, I don't think about policy, but I think it's about, Ah, the correct roll on relationship between number 11 and number 10.

  • Now, Mr Javy, as I understand it, and I'm not placed these matters had an unfortunate experience in the summer where his adviser was marched out of dining street on Dhe.

  • So to try that on a second time on a wholesale scale is basically saying We want to be in charge and you're going to be subordinate.

  • That's what it comes down to.

  • Basically, chances are subordinate, but the relationship, but it's best rests on the degree of creative tension.

  • The prime minister's there to lead the government to win elections.

  • But the chancellor in the treasury there occasionally say, Well, hang on a second.

  • We ought to worry about the economy.

  • On Dhe.

  • It is a form of check on balance and where the relationship works well.

  • Governments tend to be very successful, but it does me no equals.

  • But in a sense, the chancellor is sort of first among equals when it comes to the rest of the Cabinet on dhe.

  • Historically, whether it was George Osborne, Gordon Brown came close.

  • Um, Nigel Lawson.

  • They were treated in that manner.

  • But maybe no more or not for the new occupants tendency.

  • What implications would that have?

  • If it's if so, if they aren't trying to subordinate the chancellor and therefore the Treasury, what could that mean?

  • Well, first, we don't know where this is going to end up.

  • Ken Clark always told me that after John Major had sack Norman Lamont, it made it impossible for him to sack.

  • He came Clark, Now the new guy.

  • I didn't know he, by all accounts, he's very talented guy.

  • He may be another Ken Clarke, but actually, the current chancellor is currently in a stronger position.

  • And Sergeant Javy, he's got a budget coming up.

  • Um, you know, if he were to threaten to resign, that could be really quite dangerous for Mr Johnson.

  • It's certainly be finished finishing time for Mr Cummings, who might suspect, in any case, as a result of what's happened today.

  • His life expectancy in Downing Street is probably contracted a bit.

  • But I mean to answer your question.

  • You know, if if actually the deal is that he is going to be taped to take explored in it and take instructions from number 10 that will have interesting consequences in the long run, because it probably means higher spending, bigger deficits, the absence of difficult decisions now, normally in politics.

  • It's the first year of parliament.

  • You take the tough decisions now.

  • So far, this government, as far as far as I can see his only focused on spending decisions.

  • I speak to spending more money on the health service and so on.

  • E.

  • I mean, in a sense, the test for this regime will be.

  • Is the budget prepared to take difficult decisions to deliver on a fiscal plan?

  • Let's just make it concrete.

  • There's two different kinds of changes that happen, because what's happened there's the relative power relationship between number 10 in the Treasury, and we have no idea where it ends up.

  • But the direction of travel is clearly into a week, every week of power for the treasury.

  • Who knows how far it goes it's clearly all else equal leads to Maur some more spending on or in a different kind of process for decision taking the head.

  • There's more specific issues there, which is like, What is the big question facing this government will have to decide by Christmas this year.

  • When it's done, it's second budget, and it's spending Review.

  • How is it reconcile in the wish to look like a new government, one that is in blunt spending a lot more money?

  • Not only his austerity ended the cuts, but it feels different, as well as delivering the large increase in capital spending.

  • And it's weighing that up against the trade off, which is we've committed to fiscal rules, which are quite tough on the current budget side eye the day to day public service spending side.

  • But we haven't quite accepted in our heart of hearts that although we've become a big state conservative party that we've not, we haven't haven't given up on being a low tax conservative party, and that is basically the underlying tension.

  • Do you stick to these disco rules and put up taxes to deliver their spending increases?

  • You want to feel like a different government or do you in the end, bottle on the tax rises?

  • And then the pressure comes back on the fiscal.

  • And while that chance there was there who put that fiscal rule in place and had it, except to the manifesto, the chance of buckling on the fiscal rule was low.

  • The Johnson that is now significantly higher.

  • The chance of us not having the brand new set of fiscal that have just been put through a manifesto election lasting even the length of this year, I think has now gone up quite significantly, but that will be quite damaging to the government's economic credibility.

  • I mean, it's possible.

  • My guess actually is the government will stick with those rules.

  • It might use a bit of smoke and mirrors in order to do it shall lay with an independent fiscal council in the form of the Office for budget Responsibility.

  • That is more difficult than it was in the past.

  • But I think to lose a chancellor and then just to throw out some rules which were in your manifesto dollars raised quite serious questions about whether you're interested in having a credible economic policy.

  • One suggestion was that they number 10.

  • Dominic Cummings.

  • I didn't want to raise some taxes.

  • Now, as is traditional straight after an election, if you've got the majority to do it, Andi, it might be that Maybe that's what we see a bit more off.

  • They Clearly there's clear difference of Gun Honus.

  • Okay, about how much you're prepared to engage in controversial that tax pot rises, particularly around things, that where elements of number 10 may be happy.

  • To say that revenue raisers will be particularly heavy on the top will allow them to deliver a leveling up agenda on a chancellor who was attached to the traditionally to a low tax agenda.

  • Being in some ways understandably cautious about the individual measures also has been cautious because these things are complicated.

  • Things that sound easy, like flat rate pension tax relief have a lot of wider implications.

  • How you do that for divine benefit pension schemes is complicated.

  • So rightly would be saying we need to get this right, so there's definitely may have been elements of that in this package.

  • But the bigger picture is what it is with the new chance level with the old chancellor, which is where the contents of your fiscal rule where your tax revenues come from?

  • Does that allow you to feel like a different government?

  • Or is it basically more of the same?

  • Just in terms of you?

  • Visit you at the Treasury for a long time, Nick.

  • The time pressure on the new chancellor eyes extraordinary zone, and this is a big moment for our country choosing a new path.

  • And the rest of this is not just any old budget, either.

  • New government, new majority and he's got a matter of weeks.

  • Not many Thio work out what he wants to do.

  • Yes, now, in a sensible world, they put the budget cut budget back.

  • You don't have to have a budget in March.

  • You can have it in April.

  • In fact, you don't really need a budget all committed legally to to be our forecasts by the end of March.

  • Already not gonna get that.

  • Okay, look, But let's assume a go ahead in the first question is how much the new chancellor is.

  • Chief Secretary of the Treasury has been involved in discussions hitherto so.

  • Some chances involved three secretaries a lot.

  • You know, Ken Clarke thought nothing about involving all his ministers in discussions.

  • Whether he took much notice of them was another matter.

  • But other chance lose.

  • You know, the chief secretary virtually found out what the budget waas on the day.

  • So I don't know.

  • Um, you know about about that degree of involvement.

  • What is certain is vert is relatively easy.

  • To take decisions out of a budget at this stage is relatively easy to take decisions which involve changing a tax rate.

  • Unfortunately, the government seems to ruled out three easy options of raising tax rates, which are far easier to deliver and actually easier to sell.

  • Compare and contrast the 20 or 1,000,000,000 George Osborne raised from increasing the VAT rate 20% with the measure to put taxes on pasties, which probably raised a few 100 million on the.

  • And that's important on DDE.

  • It's certainly the case when it comes to complicated policies that a chancellor really need to have got their head round it.

  • They need to be in a position to make the intellectual case, which is why you know, the great tax reforming chance.

  • Others, like Nigel Lawson, we're making a case for tax reform years.

  • I from the measures they took.

  • Even Golden Brown would have used a long process to begin to create a consensus in favor off a higher tax to me.

  • And I may be being very naive here the idea that suddenly they're gonna introduce the biggest reform to pensions in my lifetime edge of thin air Seems to me a roommate one simply you know, so called mention taxes, a CZ Torsten will no raise a whole lot of difficult and interesting issues.

  • Andi.

  • So I just would be It would be quite surprised if I know these things have been brief, but I kind of assumed their brief differently.

  • Just so they were quite ending radical thoughts.

  • Thinking radical thoughts is definitely the easy bit of the radical thoughts on the.

  • The only thing that's later they're not.

  • I think it's very unlikely we're going to see big tax changes like that announced infirm ways in this budget.

  • They're not going to be like we're gonna do it exactly like this.

  • This tax rate, these pension rules, I think the question is, does this chance will have time to make his peace with announcing direction of travels that number 10 would like him to do on dhe.

  • Is he able to do that in a way with enough sense of where he might end up after consultations have run their course?

  • Or does he end up feeling railroaded into announcing some things where he doesn't know where they end up where you are basically building intention down the line?

  • And that is definitely a risk if he's not already Bean thinking through those issues?

  • As Nick says.

  • If he hasn't been part of those discussions today, then that is a high risk.

  • You do not want to be announcing consultations on hard areas of tax policy if you don't know what the answer is.

  • But to make a sort of a narrow point, Charleston to be able to make the budget ad off, he needs to have firm proposals.

  • Having just the idea that we're gonna do something about pensions one day does not allow you to school.

  • No, because somebody says that's true.

  • But the spending views in the autumn doesn't have to announce the total amount of spending he doesn't want to in this budget.

  • You can wait on that.

  • I'm pretty certain what we will end up seeing because they are not going to get to the firm policy proposals on tax on.

  • We will end up seeing some consultations and then I'll come back in the autumn, announce the big stuff, which is in in one sense, it's a form of actually having a later budget.

  • This just then becomes another rather insignificant sign posting events, and then some down payment will see.

  • Like entrepreneurs.

  • Relief will see some things, but we'll see some down payments on high taxes.

  • But the hard stuff, uh, is all to come.

  • Can you just take it?

  • Take it back to something you said earlier about how the Treasury is this sort of bit of the brain in government that is always thinking about responsibility and not spending more than we've got it.

  • What could it looked like?

  • This, this government?

  • Or what could this country look like if we hadn't had a treasury like that for years?

  • Other countries we can point to, because we could be moving into that sort of period.

  • If Dominic Cummings has that kind of intent and doesn't think that bit of the brain functions and just wants to neutralize it, not have it as part of the organs of government.

  • That's that's a whole new dispensation is quite doable.

  • Look, it's happened in this country in 1972.

  • Effectively, Edward, he took over economic policy.

  • He had an unelected official eso William Armstrong, who was described at the time as the deputy prime minister who effectively was the prime minister's enforcer on dhe sort of policy.

  • Lead on dhe Anthony Barber, who was there then Chancellor Waas, perhaps one of the weakest chancellors in living memory time, is calling all the shots.

  • S O, I think, is pretty.

  • It's fair to say that during that period, Number 10 called the shots.

  • So you spend your president with what effect?

  • Well, in the case of heats of rampant inflation, I wouldn't blame the three day week killed.

  • There was a lot of things, but things got out of control.

  • A failed incomes fail anti inflation policy on dhe, a seriously difficult set of public finances which the Labour government then inherited in 74.

  • In one sense, it was the beginning of the the the the downhill slope to wars, the IMF in 76.

  • So look, we're in a different world.

  • Fortunately, these days.

  • Borrowing is very cheap on dhe.

  • The way the markets take revenge on profligate governments is usually through the exchange rate on British on.

  • The British people, for some reason, seem amazingly relaxed about devaluation in a way which they weren't when there was a fixed exchange rate.

  • So I don't think I think you know the risk for the traditional treasury is that you cried wolf through often on dhe too early.

  • Nevertheless, if you carry on spending Maur than you raise in tax significantly over a long period, it tends to end badly.

  • Which is why, in the end, you need something like the Treasury don't have to call the Treasury.

  • But you need somebody who actually is gonna worry about the public finances and in a sense, represent the taxpayer because this is also about the value for money, which you get from your tax pound.

  • And if you just spray money around and let's face it, all of the difficult decisions have yet to be taken.

  • This is the decayed when demographic pressures really build up.

  • The government has yet to take any position.

  • As far as I can make out on long term care is made lots of commitments on spending on, but some point somebody is gonna have to prioritize.

  • But if you've got a neutered treasury and that may have been the intent, it certainly looks like it.

  • And a chancellor who came to office on those terms, some of the building blocks of there from the start talking, you can't you can't going towards the next little it, like this is it is not following another chance of the no, it's easy.

  • I think some of the reaction today is the chance has been sacked.

  • This is Johnson taking a treasure.

  • I think, actually, this could actually rebound in the end.

  • The new chancellor.

  • If he's as good as everybody says years, Andi, the Treasury actually will be