THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
‘This is a brilliant book. Buy it, read it and weep’ The Times
‘The antidote to naivety that our political class needs’ Sunday Times, Book of the Week
‘A treasure trove of killer facts’ Guardian
‘Read it, absorb it, and understand how the country works’ Laura Kuenssberg
‘If you want to understand why crazy politics routinely trumps economic rationality in government choices, read this’ Robert Peston
Paul Johnson and the enormously respected Institute for Fiscal Studies aim to hold Government to account – without which politicians will get away with their half-truths, elisions and dubious claims. This is a forensic examination – by the man best placed to do so – of the way the state raises and spends Â£1 trillion of our money every year. To follow the money. To provide an explanation, of where that money comes from and where it goes to, how that has changed and how it needs to change.
Government decisions determine the welfare of the poor and the elderly, the state of the health service, the effectiveness of our children’s education, and how prepared we are for the future: whether that is a pandemic or global warming. As a society, we are a reflection of what the government spends.
Johnson looks at what happened following the financial crisis of 2008-09 and the austerity years that followed. He examines the way that the government tackled the economy during Covid – when the UK budget shot up to over a trillion for the first time – and he analyses prospects for our future as we grapple with looming recession and the cost of living crisis.