QE2 has set sail

Bank of England begins more quantitative easing, described by Osborne as "the last resort of despera

As expected, the Bank of England has fired the starting gun on a second round of quantitative easing [the creation of electronic money to purchase government bonds and other assets], boosting the current £200bn asset purchase scheme by £75bn.

Insofar as the government has a plan B, this is it. As George Osborne said in his speech to the Conservative conference, he and David Cameron are "fiscal conservatives and monetary activists", and the Chancellor came as close as possible to endorsing another round of QE while respecting the Bank of England's independence. But the move, which will inevitably fuel inflation, will appall those conservatives raised on Nigel Lawson's tight monetary policies.

Yet faced with the fact that the economy hasn't grown for nine months, it's no surprise that Osborne has approved another round of QE. A recent study by the Bank of England concluded that the last programme, which purchased assets equivalent to 14 per cent of GDP, boosted growth by as much as 2 per cent [the equivalent of a 1.5-3 per cent cut in interest rates].

Finally, it would be remiss not to note that in 2009, Osborne described QE as the "last resort of desperate governments when all other policies have failed."

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Work with us: Wellcome Scholarship at the New Statesman

Be one of our 2016 science interns.

Britain needs more great science writers – particularly from backgrounds which have been traditionally under-represented in the media.

To address this, the New Statesman and Wellcome Trust, in partnership with Creative Access, have come together to offer annual placements to student or graduates from an ethnic minority background*.

The final 2016 placement will take place this Autumn/Winter (the exact date is flexible) and will last for four weeks.

Over the course of the placement, the successful applicants will:

  • Work alongside the New Statesman web and magazine team, learning about the editorial and production process, and how articles are conceived, written, edited and laid out;
  • Undertake a data-driven journalism research project on a scientific topic, which will be published on the New Statesman website
  • Visit Parliament and learn about how science-based legislation is developed and debated in the select committee system
  • Have an opportunity to interview a leading scientist or policy-maker
  • Write a regular bylined science blog on the New Statesman website
  • Receive regular feedback and editing from the editorial team
  • Meet journalists at other titles in the sector (previous Wellcome Scholars have met writers for the Atlantic, and presenters for the BBC)

Over the course of the placement, you will be paid London living wage.

To apply for the placement, follow the steps below and apply direct to the New Statesman. 

Please write an 800-word blogpost on a recent or upcoming scientific development which you feel has the potential to change lives significantly, explaining clearly and concisely what stage the research is at, and how it is likely to proceed. It should be written as if for the NS audience - interested, intelligent laypeople.

Please also write up to 200 words on why you are right for this placement and what you would hope to get out of it. You don't need to send a CV.

Please only use Word files, or paste your text into the body of an email. 

Send your application by email to Helen Lewis (Helen @ newstatesman co uk) with the subject line “Wellcome Scholarship 2016”. 

Applications close on 30 September 2016. Interviews will take place soon after.

This is a positive action scheme under the Race Relations Act.