The Dreadful Monster and Its Poor Relations Taxing, Spending and the United Kingdom, 1707-2021

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Publisher's Synopsis

'An invaluable primer to some of the underlying tensions behind contemporary political debate' Financial Times

It has always been an important part of British self-image to see the United Kingdom as an ancient, organic and sensibly managed place, in striking contrast to the convulsions of other European countries. Yet, as Julian Hoppit makes clear in this fascinating and surprising book, beneath the complacent surface the United Kingdom has in fact been in a constant, often very tense argument with itself about how it should be run and, most significantly, who should pay for what.

The book takes its argument from an eighteenth century cartoon which shows the central state as the 'Dreadful Monster', gorging itself at the dinner table on all the taxes it can grab. Meanwhile the 'Poor Relations' - Scotland, Wales and Ireland, both poor because of tax but also poor in the sense of needing special treatment - are viewed in London as an endless 'drain on the state'. With drastically different levels of prosperity, population, industry, agriculture and accessibility between the United Kingdom's different nations, what is a fair basis for paying for the state?

Book information

ISBN: 9780141992266
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Imprint: Penguin Books
Pub date:
DEWEY: 336.200941
DEWEY edition: 23
Language: English
Number of pages: 352
Weight: 256g
Height: 130mm
Width: 197mm
Spine width: 23mm