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Letter to the Financial Times: First priority must be to restore robust growth
Robert Skidelsky and others
Financial Times | Thursday, February 18, 2010

 
Sir, In their letter to The Sunday Times of February 14, Professor Tim Besley and 19 co-signatories called for an accelerated programme of fiscal consolidation. We believe they are wrong.
 
There is no disagreement that fiscal consolidation will be necessary to put UK public finances back on a sustainable basis. But the timing of the measures should depend on the strength of the recovery. The Treasury has committed itself to more than halving the budget deficit by 2013-14, with most of the consolidation taking place when recovery is firmly established. In urging a faster pace of deficit reduction to reassure the financial markets, the signatories of the Sunday Times letter implicitly accept as binding the views of the same financial markets whose mistakes precipitated the crisis in the first place!
 
They seek to frighten us with the present level of the deficit but mention neither the automatic reduction that will be achieved as and when growth is resumed nor the effects of growth on investor confidence. How do the letter’s signatories imagine foreign creditors will react if implementing fierce spending cuts tips the economy back into recession? To ask – as they do – for independent appraisal of fiscal policy forecasts is sensible. But for the good of the British people – and for fiscal sustainability – the first priority must be to restore robust economic growth. The wealth of the nation lies in what its citizens can produce.
 
Lord Skidelsky,
Emeritus Professor of Political Economy, University of Warwick, UK
 
Marcus Miller,
Professor of Economics, University of Warwick, UK
 
David Blanchflower,
Bruce V. Rauner Professor of Economics, Dartmouth College, US and University of Stirling, UK
 
Kern Alexander,
Professor of Law and Economics, University of Zurich, Switzerland
 
Martyn Andrews,
Professor of Econometrics, University of Manchester, UK
 
David Bell,
Professor of Economics, University of Stirling, UK
 
William Brown,
Montague Burton Professor of Industrial Relations, University of Cambridge, UK
 
Mustafa Caglayan,
Professor of Economics, University of Sheffield, UK
 
Victoria Chick,
Emeritus Professor of Economics, University College London, UK
 
Christopher Cramer,
Professor of Economics, SOAS, London, UK
 
Paul De Grauwe,
Professor of Economics, K. U. Leuven, Belgium
 
Brad DeLong,
Professor of Economics, U.C. Berkeley, US
 
Marina Della Giusta,
Senior Lecturer in Economics, University of Reading, UK
 
Andy Dickerson,
Professor in Economics, University of Sheffield, UK
 
John Driffill,
Professor of Economics, Birkbeck College London, UK
 
Ciaran Driver,
Professor of Economics, Imperial College London, UK
 
Sheila Dow,
Emeritus Professor of Economics, University of Stirling, UK
 
Chris Edwards,
Senior Fellow, Economics, University of East Anglia, UK
 
Peter Elias,
Professor of Economics, University of Warwick, UK
 
Bob Elliot,
Professor of Economics, University of Aberdeen, UK
 
Jean-Paul Fitoussi,
Professor of Economics, Sciences-po, Paris, France
 
Giuseppe Fontana,
Professor of Monetary Economics, University of Leeds, UK
 
Richard Freeman,
Herbert Ascherman Chair in Economics, Harvard University, US
 
Francis Green,
Professor of Economics, University of Kent, UK
 
G.C. Harcourt,
Emeritus Reader, University of Cambridge, and Professor Emeritus, University of Adelaide, Australia
 
Peter Hammond,
Marie Curie Professor, Department of Economics, University of Warwick, UK
 
Mark Hayes,
Fellow in Economics, University of Cambridge, UK
 
David Held,
Graham Wallas Professor of Political Science, LSE, UK
 
Jerome de Henau,
Lecturer in Economics, Open University, UK
 
Susan Himmelweit,
Professor of Economics, Open University, UK
 
Geoffrey Hodgson,
Research Professor of Business Studies, University of Hertfordshire, UK
 
Jane Humphries,
Professor of Economic History, University of Oxford, UK
 
Grazia Ietto-Gillies,
Emeritus Professor of Economics, London South Bank University, UK
 
George Irvin,
Professor of Economics, SOAS London, UK
 
Geraint Johnes,
Professor of Economics and Dean of Graduate Studies, Lancaster University, UK
 
Mary Kaldor,
Professor of Global Governance, LSE, UK
 
Alan Kirman,
Professor Emeritus Universite Paul Cezanne, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Institut Universitaire de France
 
Dennis Leech,
Professor of Economics, Warwick University, UK
 
Robert MacCulloch,
Professor of Economics, Imperial College London, UK
 
Stephen Machin,
Professor of Economics, University College London, UK
 
George Magnus,
Senior Economic Adviser to UBS Investment Bank
 
Alan Manning,
Professor of Economics, LSE, UK
 
Ron Martin,
Professor of Economic Geography, University of Cambridge, UK
 
Simon Mohun,
Professor of Political Economy, QML, UK
 
Phil Murphy,
Professor of Economics, University of Swansea, UK
 
Robin Naylor,
Professor of Economics, University of Warwick, UK
 
Alberto Paloni,
Senior Lecturer in Economics, University of Glasgow, UK
 
Rick van der Ploeg,
Professor of Economics, University of Oxford, UK
 
Lord Peston,
Emeritus Professor of Economics, QML, London, UK
 
Robert Rowthorn,
Emeritus Professor of Economics, University of Cambridge, UK
 
Malcolm Sawyer,
Professor of Economics, University of Leeds, UK
 
Richard Smith,
Professor of Econometric Theory and Economic Statistics, University of Cambridge, UK
 
Frances Stewart,
Professor of Development Economics, University of Oxford, UK
 
Joseph Stiglitz,
University Professor, Columbia University, US
 
Andrew Trigg,
Senior Lecturer in Economics, Open University, UK
 
John Van Reenen,
Professor of Economics, LSE, UK
 
Roberto Veneziani,
Senior Lecturer in Economics, QML, UK
 
John Weeks,
Professor Emeritus Professor of Economics, SOAS, London, UK
 
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