Follow the Money: How Much Does Britain Cost? by Paul Johnson - review by David Laws

David Laws

How to Spend It

Follow the Money: How Much Does Britain Cost?


Abacus 332pp £25

In Follow the Money, Paul Johnson sets out to provide an explanation of where the UK government’s revenues come from and what they are spent on. His aim is to ‘show how the choices governments make really do change the way we live and the sort of society we live in’.

Readers interested in this subject could hardly hope for a better-qualified author. Johnson not only leads the most respected fiscal policy think-tank in the UK – he is director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) – but also has hands-on experience of government, having worked in the Treasury and the Department of Education. His book is clearly written and accessible. It should be compulsory reading for every MP and prospective government minister.

Johnson’s stated aim of following the money is a modest one. Perhaps he feels he has to be low key in order not to be seen to go beyond the non-political remit of the IFS. Nevertheless, those expecting endless tables of statistics on every area of government spending

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

RLF - March

Follow Literary Review on Twitter