Below you will find links to the manifestos of the three main UK-wide parties for the general election on May 6. It’s not our role to suggest to those of you living in the UK with the right to vote how you should vote. The one thing we would suggest is that you consider carefully what the parties are proposing.
What is clear is that the state of the economy and the policies necessary to tackle economic problems are central to all the manifestos. As a student of economics, you should be able to assess the manifestos in terms of how the parties set out the economic problems facing the UK and what they propose doing about them.
So look through the manifestos below and then answer the questions we’ve posed about the UK economy and about the economic policies being proposed. If you are uncertain about how to answer them, then ask yourself what extra information would I need to enable me to give a good answer.
The manifestos (in alphabetical order)
The Conservative Party manifesto
The Labour Party manifesto
The Liberal Democrat Party manifesto
We are reluctant to recommend newspaper articles, as all newspapers at election time tend to be highly partisan and are therefore likely to give you a very specific ‘spin’ on the parties’ proposals. Perhaps the two best independent sources are the BBC and the Institute for Fiscal Studies. See:
Election analysis 2010 Institute for Fiscal Studies
Election 2010 BBC News
Stephanomics Stephanie Flanders’ blog (this links to the archive).
- How do the analyses of the economic problems facing the UK differ between the three manifestos?
- Compare the policies of the three parties for cutting the public-sector deficit. Consider the following issues: the size and nature of any cuts in government expenditure; the size and nature of any tax increases; the timing of the meaures.
- What assumptions are being made about the determinants of aggregate demand over the coming months and the role of fiscal policy in this?
- Compare the policies of the three parties towards the distribution of income. To what extent have the parties taken into account possible incentive/disincentive effects of policies of redistribution?
- To what extent are the parties proposing using the tax system to tackle problems of externalities? Give examples and assess how effective the policies are likely to be.
- To what extent do each of the manifestos leave you with unanswered questions about the economy and how their proposed policies will tackle economic problems?
The 2009 quarter 2 statistics on the French, German and Japanese economies show that economic growth has returned. Other countries, meanwhile, such as the UK, USA, Italy and Spain, are still in recession (see the Guardian’s Recession watch: which nations’ GDP is still going down?). Their rate of decline, however, is slowing.
Does this mean that the global economy is now recovering? And why do countries, such as France and Germany, seem to be more successful in pulling out of recession? Is it to do with the structure of their economies, or the macroeconomic policies theory have pursued, or merely that the time path of countries’ move into and out of recession is not totally synchronised? The following articles look at the evidence and the explanations.
France and Germany exit recession BBC News (13/8/09)
France and Germany exit recession (video), (video 2) BBC News (13/8/09)
Why are France and Germany out of recession? BBC News (13/8/09)
Hong Kong emerges from recession BBC News (14/8/09)
China economy shows improvement BBC News (11/8/09)
Japan’s economy leaves recession BBC News (17/8/09)
Japan returns to growth (video) Reuters (17/8/09)
Does Japan offer hope around the world? BBC News (17/8/09)
France and Germany pull out of recession (video) France 24 (13/8/09)
Europe buoyed by returning growth (video) Channel 4 News (10/8/09)
France and Germany beat Britain out of recession The Herald (14/8/09)
Will Germany Beat the U.S. to Recovery? BusinessWeek (14/8/09)
France and Germany Climb Out of Recession Time (13/8/09)
France and Germany lead the West out of recession Telegraph (13/8/09)
Recession over for France and Germany Independent (13/8/09)
Sean O’Grady: Brown must resent France and Germany’s growth Independent (14/8/09)
Hamish McRae: Recession talk is over, now the recovery speculation begins… Independent (14/8/09)
Europe’s economies: Sailing away The Economist (13/8/09)
Listen to the second part (from 11 min 40 sec) of the following podcast , which dicusses whether the recovery in France and Japan is likely to be sustained:
The Business Guardian podcast> (19/8/09)
Data for the OECD countries can be found in GDP in the OECD area stabilised in the second quarter of 2009 OECD Press Release (19/8/09)
- Why was the German economy the hardest hit of the major economies of the developed world?
- Why are the French and German economies recovering while the UK and US economies are still in recession?
- What will determine whether the recovery in France and Germany will be sustained?
- What will be the economic implications of a divergence of the growth rates of the economies of the eurozone?