Letter: Interactions that prohibit separate economic bodies

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Sir: Your proposal to create a new Ministry of Economic Affairs is not a good one, and neither is the consequent proposal to leave the Treasury in charge of expenditure. Anyone who has come into the public service at a senior level from private industry knows that the Treasury is worse at financial control than at forecasting. And remember what happened when George Brown tried to do what you now recommend - the Treasury saw it off.

The solution is to make the Treasury the Department of Economics and create a completely new Ministry of Finance staffed by people from the private sector. This would remove the Treasury's arm-twisting power and force it to argue out its economic proposals on their merits. If it were also instructed in strategic thinking we might get somewhere, because its people are not stupid. But organisationally they find it very difficult to deal in any detail with anything broader than 'a closely focused issue', ie one on which the brief can be written by a Principal without consulting anyone else.

Yours faithfully,


Longworth, Oxfordshire

28 October