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The Dreadful Monster and its Poor Relations

Taxing, Spending and the United Kingdom, 1707-2021

Julian Hoppit



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Allen Lane
20 September 2021
A wide-ranging, thought-provoking introduction to British tax history

'There is almost no issue of public interest which does not derive from taxes or end up with taxes' Alexis de Tocqueville

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. To a limited degree this is true, but, 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?
Imprint:   Allen Lane
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 240mm,  Width: 162mm,  Spine: 33mm
Weight:   573g
ISBN:   9780241434420
ISBN 10:   0241434424
Pages:   352
Publication Date:  
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  General/trade ,  Primary ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Julian Hoppit is Astor Professor of British History at University College London. He is the author of Risks and Failure in English Business, 1700-1800, A Land of Liberty?- England 1689-1727 and Britain's Political Economies- Parliament and Economic Life, 1660-1800.

Reviews for The Dreadful Monster and its Poor Relations: Taxing, Spending and the United Kingdom, 1707-2021

An engaging account of three centuries of the UK's economic history ... Hoppit outlines an agenda for reform. -- Jonathan Portes * Prospect *

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