Box sets » March 2014
Each autumn, we publish our Forecast evaluation report (FER), a detailed examination of the performance of past economic and fiscal forecasts relative to the latest outturn data. This box discussed the OECD's and Bank of England's forecast errors, their explanations for these errors, and the lessons forecasters have learnt from the errors.
In the February 2014 Inflation Report the Bank of England published more information about its assessment of spare capacity. This box compared that assessment with our own output gap estimate at the time, highlighting some conceptual differences between the two.
This box showed how growth in some of the key economy variables between 2010 and 2013 was lower when measured on a per capita basis. We also discussed our forecast for productivity growth at that time, given its importance in determining GDP per capita growth in the medium term.
In each Economic and fiscal outlook we publish a box that summarises the effects of the Government’s new policy measures on our economy forecast. These include the overall effect of the package of measures and any specific effects of individual measures that we deem to be sufficiently material to have wider indirect effects on the economy. In our March 2014 Economic and Fiscal Outlook, we made adjustments to inflation and business investment.
In 2013, households’ balances in ‘time deposit’ accounts (savings with fixed maturity) fell by £36 billion. This box outlined possible reasons for this by exploring the wider household savings behaviour. The cumulative change in annual deposit flows showed rapid increases in 'sight deposits'. This was possibly explained by narrowing spreads between 'time' and 'sight' deposit interest rates or normalisation of household investment behaviour. Changes in annual mortgage flows also suggested that revival of housing market activity could have been responsible for switching between deposit types. The ability of households to shift very large deposit balances over relatively short timeframes was one reason why the impact of savings and pensions measures discussed in Box 3.3 of the same EFO was subject to considerable uncertainty.
We expected debt servicing costs as a share of disposable income, or ‘income leverage’, to rise as our forecasts for house price inflation outstripped income growth and Bank Rate gradually increased. This box discussed the extent to which mortgage servicing costs were likely to increase over the forecast period and the implications of this for household behaviour, using information from the Bank of England/NMG survey.
In the late-2000s recession, total investment in the UK fell by more than in other similarly-developed economies, but in the March 2014 forecast we expected it to pick up strongly. This box considered possible reasons for the previous weakness and compared the investment-to-GDP ratio in our forecast against OECD averages.
The Bank of England’s purchases of gilts under its quantitative easing (QE) programme are undertaken by its subsidiary, the Asset Purchase Facility (APF). Since late 2012-13, the Exchequer received excess cash held in the APF on an ongoing basis. This box summarised the approach used to estimate the fiscal impact of projected APF flows and the changes in these projections since our December 2013 Economic and fiscal outlook forecast. It also highlighted the large uncertainty about the timing and pace of quantitative easing (QE) unwinding.
Receipts from capital gains tax (CGT), inheritance tax (IHT) and stamp duty land tax (SDLT) were expected to rise sharply over our March 2014 forecast. This box set out the drivers behind that rise, in particular the impact of rising effective tax rates.
The Government undertook a number of interventions in the financial sector in response to the financial crisis and subsequent recession of the late 2000s. This box provided an update of the estimated net effect of them on the public finances as of March 2014.