Belated – and mostly dull – predictions for 2011:
- The coalition will have a hard time but see the year out.
- The localisation bill will pass pretty much unchanged.
- A fall in new social housing starts.
- Rising inflation becoming a serious concern.
- Increased public spending.
- Regular protest riots in London.
The coalition government will have a rough ride this year. In particular the Alternative Vote referendum in May – which the Liberals will lose – will strain the alliance. Not quite enough for the government to collapse but it’ll be close. By the end of the year it’ll be looking all a bit John Major circa 1995 or Gordon Brown in 2009.
The localisation bill will pass (maybe – Google won’t tell me when it’s due to go to the House of Lords) without much amendment to the housing bits and without much fuss. That’s because it’s almost competely meaningless.
I found an interesting guide to the stages of new legislation here although unfortunately it doesn’t give timescales.
Social housing starts (a standard measure of proposals to build new social housing) will fall. Currently this is about 35,000 a year but what with a halving of funding, continued reluctance by lenders and a change by the Government to fewer development partners this will reduce, probably to something like 25 – 30,000.
Inflation has been all over the place for the last couple of years (graph here). I predict it’ll rise to 6-7% by the end of 2011. The 2.5% increase in VAT, speculation against food, fuel and metals and a weak pound will all push inflation up. After a decade where inflation has not been a serious worry by the end of this year we’ll all be talking about it.
My (well, actually a friend’s) brave prediction is an overall rise in public spending. Government changes (merging quangos, changing benefits databases, etc) will all have a cost in redundancies, new offices and so on. Rising unemployment will push up the welfare and benefits bill. So here it is: public spending April 2011 – 12 will be higher in real terms than in the preceeding year.
If I’m wrong, hopefully no-one will remember. And if I’m right I expect to be lauded as a prophet.
2011 is shaping up to be remembered as a year of riots. The first will be on January 11th – there’s a protest in London against the EMA cut – and then the TUC demo in March is another obvious flashpoint. Who knows what will be happening by the summer.
The student protests of last year have set the ball rolling, if you have a London demo now and don’t break a few windows it’ll be seen as a non-event in the media. I don’t anticipate a big Poll Tax-style event, more a steady series of rowdy protests.
That’s my tuppence worth. Interesting times.