Commentary (The Times)

Budget: "Beating inflation key to recovery" (Harris letter on the 364 economists) ["charge sheet of those responsible for ... economic decline"]

Document type: Press
Source: The Times , 4 Apr 1981, p13
Editorial comments: Listed by date of publication.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 364
Themes: Conservatism, Monetary policy, Public spending & borrowing, Taxation

Beating inflation key to recovery

From Lord Harris of High Cross

Sir, As an economist who was not invited to sign the petition against Government policy, I read the list of 364 names with special interest. With a few honourable exceptions, the more prominent signatories read like a charge sheet of those responsible for Britain's relative economic decline since the war. Their lack of stomach for persevering against inflation may also have something to do with their complacent enjoyment of indexed pensions. All honour, therefore, to the majority who did not sign.

The most disturbing feature of the catalogue is the wholly unrepresentative preponderance of economists from the once-famed faculty at Cambridge which launched the petition w ith a block vote of 52. As an old Cambridge man, I once jestingly referred to the iron curtain having been, "temporarily rolled down on the Marshallian school". The long list of mostly unknown signatories from Cambridge suggests that readiness to sign this kind of essentially political testament has since certainly been no hindrance to "academic" preferment.

Yours Faithfully,
House of Lords