"If you were in France or Spain or Greece... you would say I wish was in that position"

Business quote of the day.

"No-one is saying this is easy, but if you were in France or Spain or Greece... you would look at these figures and say I wish we were in that position"

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith comments on the fall in UK unemployment in the three months to December. However official figures show there was a cut in the real value of pay as inflation remains higher than pay growth.

Ian Duncan Smith. Photograph: Getty Images

Helen Roxburgh is the online editor of Economia

Photo: Getty
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Cabinet audit: what does the appointment of Liam Fox as International Trade Secretary mean for policy?

The political and policy-based implications of the new Secretary of State for International Trade.

Only Nixon, it is said, could have gone to China. Only a politician with the impeccable Commie-bashing credentials of the 37th President had the political capital necessary to strike a deal with the People’s Republic of China.

Theresa May’s great hope is that only Liam Fox, the newly-installed Secretary of State for International Trade, has the Euro-bashing credentials to break the news to the Brexiteers that a deal between a post-Leave United Kingdom and China might be somewhat harder to negotiate than Vote Leave suggested.

The biggest item on the agenda: striking a deal that allows Britain to stay in the single market. Elsewhere, Fox should use his political capital with the Conservative right to wait longer to sign deals than a Remainer would have to, to avoid the United Kingdom being caught in a series of bad deals. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.