Those blurry images entering and leaving Downing Street are not key figures with faces pixilated in shame, Sue Gray sharpening her knife ahead of publishing her report into the apparent non-wrongdoings of Boris and his party, but people running around working out whether and when to attach windafll taxes to energy companies, as well as other carbon levies. The party line (couldn't resist it ...) is that it is 'unconservative' to tax business in this way ... not without a glass of claret in your hand, eh?
Rishi Sunak has claimed that "no options are off the table", as he clears the Times Rich List from it, noting he is the first politician ever to inhabit such a list of the wealthiest in the UK. Is this the need to punish rampant profiteering of those nasty oil and gas companies? Or the equally important need to be seen to reduce fuel bills for the proletariat?
But there is some good news for NTI's tip for the next James Blunt; UK public sector borrowing dropped more than expected last month and was lower than previously estimated for the latest fiscal year, giving the chancellor breathing room as he faces calls to address a cost of living crisis. Phew.
Public sector net borrowing was £18.6 billion in April, well below the £24.3 billion recorded in the same month last year, data from the Office for National Statistics showed on Tuesday (23 May). As a wider view, in the fiscal year to March, the public sector borrowed £144.6 billion, which was £7.2 billion lower than earlier estimates from the ONS. This was less than half the borrowing in the previous year, as the economy bounced back from the pandemic. Billy reckons this is another way of looking at 'good news'. He says he spent only £1,460 on his Mastercard last month, a full £350 down on the amount spent in April and £2,010 down on the spending this time last year when the item 'Joaquim - Columbia' appeared on his monthly statement. He says this gives him wiggle room to buy the games extension to his living room media unit in June, as he managed to 'source' a chip from his neighbour's Ford Fiesta.
Central government receipts were £70.2 billion in April, £9.9 billion more than in the same month last year, driven by strong tax receipts. So, on paper, the cost of living crisis is over and we can all dash out and buy a loaf of bread.
All this on a day when KPMG received their regular fine (this time only £3.4 million) for "serious failings" in its audit of Rolls Roycea and magic circle law firm Clifford Chance announced they are to pay £125,000 pa to newly qualified lawyers in order to keep pace with competitors.
It's a curious world, isn't it?