At a time of international crisis, we will continue to publish articles on important domestic issues which impact us here at home even as events continue to unfold elsewhere.
One such is the on-going battle between the Treasury and its spending departments which has gone on for decades and repeatedly scuppered any sense of a long-term vision for the country.
In a Spotlight article for the New Statesman George Dibb draws parallels between the battles inside Harold Wilson’s administration which simultaneously tried to grow the economy whilst curbing inflation, and the current tensions between Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak as the Prime Minister attempts to turn his levelling up agenda into reality:
“Will the Department for Levelling Up fail in its “12 missions” as Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak seek to get the cost-of-living crisis under control? Last week, Downing Street rejected the governor of the Bank of England’s suggestion that workers shouldn’t ask for pay rises. In a tug-of-war between an economic strategy aiming to increase investment, increase demand, and put more money in people’s pockets, and a Bank of England aiming to suck demand out of the economy, who will win?"
The author’s conclusion is uncompromising:
“The Treasury has to be broken up, with long-term economic strategy the responsibility of a new ministry. That way it would be matched by an equal and opposite force with long-term vision and powers to direct the economy towards socially important goals. Whether that goal is decarbonisation or addressing regional inequality, the Treasury’s instinct to pull tight the purse strings will always be a barrier.”
The full article can be read here with a link to the original beneath it: