Sorry, We Have No Money - Britain's Economic Problem

Monday, 16 August 2010 16:32

Published: October 2010

ISBN: 978-1-907720-04-8 (paperback)

ISBN: 978-1-907720-05-5 (hardback)



Paperback: £20/EUR 24/$32 (plus p&p)

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  1. Modern Britain's spending bubble has burst

    The Blair years appeared to mark a watershed in Britain's post-war economic history.

    The spectre of decline and deindustrialisation faded from view and in their place came a feeling of affluence based on easy and available credit, rising asset prices, the consumer benefits of a strong pound and a government intent on eradicating social inequalities.

    When the bubble burst in 2008, the harsh truth was left for all to see - the dependence on unsustainable government spending, de-marketised regions, widening skill gaps and the long-term demographic problems caused by an ageing population. The coalition government's controversial emergency budget were the first steps in tackling the UK's fiscal problems, but with growth remaining low and unsteady...what next?

    In this new book, Warwick Lightfoot uses the non-technical approach of the political economist to grapple with the economic problems of modern Britain and assesses:

    Why have huge increases in government spending failed to deliver significant improvement in social welfare?
    Why have thirty years of reform of government spending failed to deliver increased efficiency?
    Do large parts of the UK in fact more closely resemble the economics of the former GDR and Soviet Union than the tiger economies of East Asia?
    What are the steps needed to reform the UK economy?






Key topics:


Part 1: Britain’s structural economic problem: Public expenditure and economic performance

Chapter 1: Britain’s supply-side challenge in the 21st century
Chapter 2: Britain’s fiscal problem
Chapter 3: How effective is fiscal policy in demand management terms?
Chapter 4: Can sovereign states go bust?
Chapter 5: Public sector efficiency in the UK
Chapter 6: The failure of public sector reform
Chapter 7: Britain’s regional problem: the caring hand that cripples?
Chapter 8: Centralised public sector pay bargaining and public sector pensions
Chapter 9: Social security transfer payments and age-related spending

Part 2: Capitalism, market limits, state failure and an over-expanded state

Chapter 10: Why markets generally deliver, sometimes fail, and why correcting market failures can create state failure
Chapter 11: The neo-classical analytical paradigm
Chapter 12: Sweden and the Nordic model

Click here for full contents in PDF format: Contents.pdf

See full contents below

Open publication - Free publishing - More politics


Praise for 'Sorry, We Have No Money'

"This book is a timely reminder of how little the UK's problems have to do with individual bank failures, recession and the business cycle.  Warwick Lightfoot provides a clear and balanced account of the last few decades' dilemmas, controversies and policy choices; and argues convincingly that we should revisit the analysts and analyses of the 1970s as a guide to future action ."
Professor Alison Wolf, Sir Roy Griffiths Professor of Public Sector Management, King's College, London

"This is an interesting and timely book. ... All main party politicians are signed up to Mr Lightfoot's direction of travel, so they should look at his book to understand a little more why it might be a good idea to cut the proportion of public spending."
Rt. Hon. John Redwood MP, Chairman of the Conservative Economic Affairs Committee

"This publication could hardly be better timed ... Lightfoot is especially persuasive on the damaging effect a large state has had on the economies of the UK's old industrial regions." David Cottle, Wall Street Journal

“The is as good an analysis as you will find of the need to reduce the level of Britain’s public expenditure, not just to solve the current debt crisis, but in the long term.” Ben Patterson, former MEP and Vice-Chair of the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee

"Thoughtful and well researched."
David Smith, Economics Editor, Sunday Times

"A very timely book with a wide perspective and good argument."
Professor Peter Sinclair, University of Birmingham

"The historical causes and possible consequences of Britain's large public sector are the focus of Sorry We Have No Money.The arguments made by Warwick Lightfoot are provocative and well worth reading."
Dr Graham Brownlow, Queen's University, Belfast


About Warwick Lightfoot

Warwick Lightfoot is a professional economist with specialist interests in monetary policy, public expenditure, taxation and labour markets.

Formerly the economics editor of The European, he was for many years a frequent contributor to the Wall Street Journal and has written for the Financial Times, The Times, Sunday Times, the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph, and the Guardian. His articles on economics and public policy have also been published in specialist journals that range from Financial World, International Economy, and Investors Chronicle to the Times Literary Supplement and the Journal of Insolvency Practitioners.

Warwick worked in government as Special Adviser to the Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1989-92, initially appointed by Nigel Lawson and later reappointed by John Major and Norman Lamont. He was also Special Adviser to the Secretary of State for Employment, the  Rt Hon Norman Fowler MP. He is a Councillor for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

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