On Monday, Matthew Elliott and David Craig released their new book Fleeced! How we’ve been betrayed by the politicians, bureaucrats and bankers… and how much they’ve cost us, published by Constable. Fleeced! is the very first book to analyse the financial, fiscal and political crisis resulting from a decade spent under the stewardship of Gordon Brown and is a devastating indictment of Brown’s time as Chancellor and Prime Minister. The authors, who were the first to reveal the shocking truth about Brown’s overspending since 1997 in their previous books, show that in 12 years of New Labour around £1.5 trillion of taxpayers’ money has been squandered on an acceleration in profligate government spending fuelled by the economic boom; and around another £1.5 trillion has evaporated in the bust.
Fleeced! was given a big preview in the Daily Mail who summarised the key chapters, explaining how the authors arrived at the eye-watering total of £3 trillion for Gordon Brown’s mishandling of the economy. The release of Fleeced! and Brown’s £3 trillion con were also reported in:
The Sun, Labour blunders cost taxpayers £3 trillion
Daily Express, Brown the bungler has cost every person in Britain £50,000
Daily Mail, Brown’s mishandling of the economy has cost £50,000 for every person in Britain, according to new book
Daily Star, Bungler Brown has bled Britain dry
Daily Telegraph, Gordon Brown ‘wasted three trillion’
The Guardian, Comment Is Free: I see no wisdom, Mandelson
This is Money, Brown ‘cost us £50,000 each’ in tax
Press Association, ‘Brown cost taxpayers £3 trillion’
Matthew Elliott was interviewed on Sky Sunrise on Monday morning and on John Gaunt’s Suntalk radio show on Tuesday.
Fleeced! RRP £8.99, is now available in all good bookshops and on Amazon here.
I see no wisdom, Mandelson!
Far from the ‘wise spenders’ of the business secretary’s mantra, this government has brought Britain to the brink of bankruptcy.
The weekend has been one of comebacks. Dame Vera Lynn is back at the top of the charts at the age of 92. Kim Clijsters won the US Open Tennis final after two years out of the game. And on Monday, ahead of the TUC conference, Peter Mandelson has revived Labour’s 1997 mantra of “wise spenders not big spenders”. While I, of course, welcome the venerable Lord’s comments, I am deeply sceptical of the government’s ability to follow through with the reality.
This week, a new book that I co-authored – called Fleeced! How we’ve been betrayed by the politicians, bureaucrats and bankers, and how much they’ve cost us – has been released. It is the first book to bring together figures of government spending before and during the recession and government losses since the recession began and argues that the cost of Gordon Brown’s mishandling of the economy has cost an eye-watering £3tn.
If that figure seems unrealistically high, it can be at least partly explained by the fact that government spending has more than doubled in real terms since 1997; to the extent that even if the next government tries to trim spending by 5% or 10%, it will take years, probably even decades, to bring it back under control. It is certainly big spending, but has it been wise?
If you’re one of Britain’s growing army of over 6 million public-sector workers, you might be tempted to say yes. The acceleration in profligate government spending has been the basis for probably the biggest boom in public-sector employment, rising wages, lavish expenses and inflation-protected pensions in British history – it’s no wonder the unions are so desperate to fend off cuts.
Then there is the army of consultants brought on by this government, costing the taxpayer £2.8bn a year – central government alone manages to spend £1.8bn a year on consultants. Or what about the bankers our government so readily bailed out while the UK manufacturing sector went to the wall. Cautious estimates suggest that of the total £1.227tn made available to the banks, taxpayers will lose at least £200bn.
Of course, if you’re one of the sadly decreasing number of people in the private sector, then your feelings may not be quite so positive. For you, taxes are going up and will continue to rise as our budget deficit (forecast to reach £700bn for the next financial year) continues to stretch and job security becomes more difficult to find as a depreciating pound makes it harder for businesses to stay afloat, or in the UK.
Indeed, it is difficult to argue that it is wise to take public spending to about 50% of Britain’s GDP – the same levels reached by Harold Wilson and James Callaghan in 1976, when the country went bankrupt and we needed the IMF to bail us out.
Brown has had 12 years to spend wisely and instead he has brought Britain to the brink of bankruptcy. If Mandelson really wants to show wisdom, he should outline where the cuts to the public sector will fall – much the like the Institute of Directors and TaxPayers’ Alliance did in our paper released last week.
But instead, he has committed the government to maintaining spending levels until the recession is over – and with it doomed the country to further big rises in our national debt, burdening the next generation of taxpayers, and possibly also the one after that.
Matthew Elliott. TaxPayers’ Alliance.