Forecasting is difficult, as they say, especially for the future. Yet a pair of ugly twins is visible, in the shape of inflation and interest rates, which are likely to dominate the political and financial debate in 2022. Inflation is already with us, and measured by the “discredited” but widely followed Retail Prices Index, is running at over 7 per cent. The generation-long fall in the cost of money appears to be coming to an end with the symbolic rise in Bank Rate. More significant rises look nailed on.

The runaway price of gas will ensure that inflation stays high into the spring.The formula for the domestic price cap will impose another rise on consumers just as the rise in National Insurance hits pay packets in April. This rise is another government sleight of hand. Billed as 1.25 per cent, it is in fact a 2.5 per cent payroll tax increase when the parallel rise in employer’s NI is added in.