All posts by Moderator

George Osborne’s deficit reduction plan has gone into reverse

The state of the public finances means that the chancellor is not in any position to make pre-election giveaways at the autumn statement next month, writes Larry Elliott

Senior government ministers have been making it clear for weeks that the autumn statement on 3 December is going to be a frugal affair. The message has gone out to voters that they should not expect the giveaways customary for this stage of the electoral cycle. The state of the public finances explains why that is. After seven months of the 2014-15 financial year, borrowing is more than 6% higher than it was in the same period of 2013-14, despite being slightly lower this October than last.

Whoops! Things are not going quite as scripted. At the time of the budget, George Osborne was expecting the deficit to decline by 12% this year, to a little over

2015 Design of the Year: Mercedes-Benz S Coupe

Many years ago, I had a 1983 MB 380 SEC. It was the coupé version of the W126 S-Class — it was a giant rear drive 2 door version of the S class, chock full of technological advance of the day, including a seat belt presenter (really). At highway speed, it would lower itself. It wasn’t fast off the line, but it was an autobahn cruiser. I drove it to Virginia and back several times and it would lope — at 90mph, it was practically idling, running at 2200 rpm. (I never pressed it to see what the top end was). I was rear ended in it by a Volvo, whose front end was destroyed; The big Benz never got so much as a scratch on it. It was solid as a bank vault.

The new most up to date version of the S coupe is out, and the it is Twin-Turbo 4.7L V8, 449 HP / 516 LB-FT, 7-Speed Auto, All-Wheel Drive S550 4MATIC Coupe  was just named Automobile Magazine‘s Design of the Year. My current lease (Infiniti M) is up in March 2016, and this would make a lovely replacement (if I could get Mrs. Big Picture to say yes to it!):