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'Topical and entertaining'

Barclays Capital

BIOGRAPHY

David Smith is Economics Editor of The Sunday Times, as well as the paper's Assistant Editor and Policy Advisor, and a regular contributor to CBI's Business Voice. Amongst the first to predict a V-shaped recovery, he was careful to say that it would take time to become discernible.

A widely respected economics commentator, David is the author of several books, including From Boom to Bust, Will Europe Work?, The Age of Instability, and The Dragon and the Elephant: China, India and the New World Order. His most recent work, Free Lunch, is a guide to economics for the lay-person now that it seems essential we all understand the subject.

Before moving to the nation's most widely read Sunday broadsheet, David worked for The Times and Financial Weekly - as well as the Henley Centre for Forecasting and Lloyds Bank. He has won a number of prizes, including the Harold Wincott Award for Financial Journalist of the Year.

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TOPICS

Economic Overview

SPEECH TITLES

The outlook for 2014 and beyond

FEE BANDS

CONFERENCE SPEAKERS

Fee band C £2.5K TO £5K

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Q&A

JLA: What shape do you expect recovery to take?
DS: I expect a V - but we need to distinguish between 'statistical' recovery and how it's felt by businesses and ordinary people. Recovery always takes much longer to be discernible.

JLA: How and when will we know QE has worked?
DS: We already know it has, from better conditions in financial markets, the fact that inflation did not go negative and a rise in 'money' GDP - as opposed to real GDP. However, it will take longer to feed through to credit growth.

JLA; Could a Tory government speed up recovery?
DS: Yes - not so much in terms of policy but by drawing a line under a grim period and exuding energy and ideas. What the market fears most, as do officials, is a hung parliament with post-election wrangling damaging confidence.

JLA: What are the key indicators of sustainable recovery?
DS: The ability of the economy to keep growing, measured by GDP and business surveys, as emergency support is withdrawn. A good sign will be that the Bank feels able to raise rates - as long as it's not forced into doing so by the markets.

JLA: What has this recession taught us about globalisation?
DS: That it cuts both ways. It will continue to create enormous opportunities, but there's also a destructive power of markets linked across borders, and the dangerous spread of risk.

JLA: Can we learn from Canada in controlling public spending?
DS: Canada made 20% cuts over three years, and the ongoing controls served them well during the crisis. We've allowed spending to rise sharply, focusing on 'inputs' (extra cash), rather than 'outputs' (results). Canada's collegiate approach to cuts is badly needed.

JLA: Which sectors are most likely to provide the engine for growth?
DS: Manufacturing may do surprisingly well if the exchange rate remains competitive. However a lot of the growth will come from things we barely know about; nobody would have predicted internet-linked activity helping us recover from the last recession.

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