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Counting the Cost
Slash and burn
A look at the Uk's emergency budget, Russia's supply cuts, the G20, and the whaling summit.
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2010 14:08 GMT

Hi there,

I went for a catchy metaphor this week which might take a little imagination to understand, but such is the beauty of the blog!

See, this week on CTC, it's all about cuts.

We'll start with the UK's emergency budget ... the budget which, according to the chancellor George Osborne, "had to happen".  In other words, Labour overspent and we have to undo all the damage.

Don't know if I entirely agree. I was always a supporter of Gordon Brown's theory that to cut back on stimulus and spending now might well jeopardise the financial recovery. But then look where overspending has landed the likes of Greece, Spain and Portugal. It may turn out to be a prudent decision by the new coalition. 

I had to laugh though ... no increase in levies on cigarettes, alcohol and petrol (the classic three) but an 2.5 per cent increase in sales tax or VAT as they call it in the UK.  An attempt at a sweetener perhaps ... but would you try to increase taxes on beer in the middle of a World Cup? I think not!

Also looking at cuts of a different kind in Russia ... supply cuts. It's a too-often repeated scenario, where Russia claims someone hasn't paid a gas bill and threatens to turn off the taps. What makes it more of a threat though is the amount of gas which goes through places like Ukraine and Belarus on its way to Western Europe.

That, without disrespecting the needs of Ukraine and Belarus, changes the game entirely. It looks like the immediate threat has passed, but don't expect this one to go away.

Now this weekend is the G20 summit in Toronto, Canada. I was hoping to travel there to bring you a special episode of Counting the Cost, however demands in the Doha newsroom meant that had to be shelved.

Nevertheless, Samah el-Shahat in London is taking a look at the summit, more specifically the cuts (see there's that theme again!) which different G20 nations have made to try to limit the effects of the global economic crisis.

Everyone reacted slightly differently, took their feet off the pedal at different times and to different extents ... Samah will break all that down for us.

Plus a round up of other business news, and a report from my friend Nick Clark who is at the International Whaling Commission meeting in Morocco.

Unfortunately the whaling business is still big business, and Nick is looking at the theory (as harsh as it may sound) as to whether whales are worth more dead or alive. 

Guess that might depend on you definition of the word "worth"!

Make sure you join us for Counting the Cost and check us out on Twitter too - @AJCountingCost is the name to look out for.

Counting the Cost can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Friday: 1430, 2130; Saturday: 0430, 1230, 1900; Sunday: 0230, 1630; Monday: 0830.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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