Tonight Maureen and I were invited to the annual True and Fair Lecture as guests of the Worshipful Company of Chartered Accountants, at Chartered Accountants' Hall. The True and Fair Lecture has long been a noted business-focussed lecture within the City with eminent financial speakers. This year was no different as the speaker was the high profile and well respected Paul Johnson, Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
Paul's talk concentrated on the future prospects for the UK and the world in a global economy that is beset with so many challenges. He touched on, among other topics, the challenge of climate change and potential short term costs of changing from our current carbon dependant economies to much more sustainable economies. The good news is that in Paul's opinion, we are able to make this switch if we do so in a planned and concerted way. His concern was that some economies may take it seriously and do all that is required of them, while others may not be so willing to play ball. This was the main challenge of tackling climate change, to take along everyone together.
Paul also talked about the UK economy and the seemingly widening gap between the haves and the have nots. He articulated that two of the big drivers of this huge gap have been the very low interest rates and wage rates for the past decade which have resulted in a generation of older people who are "property rich" and a younger generation who are waiting for their inheritance to be able to get on with their lives.
Paul covered several other economic areas, making them easily digestible for such a wide audience. Following the very interesting and thought provoking talk, he took several questions from the audience, after which we retired to take some wine and canapés and continue with the good fellowship.