Follow the Money

'Gripping and horrifying... witty and brilliant. Buy it' The Times

Paul Johnson author


Publisher:Little, Brown Book Group

Published:23rd Feb '23


Available to order, but very limited on stock - if we have issues obtaining a copy, we will let you know.

Follow the Money cover


'This is a brilliant book. Buy it, read it and weep' The Times

'The antidote to naivety that our political class needs' Sunday Times, Book of the Week

'A treasure trove of killer facts' Guardian

'Read it, absorb it, and understand how the country works' Laura Kuenssberg

'If you want to understand why crazy politics routinely trumps economic rationality in government choices, read this' Robert Peston

Paul Johnson and the enormously respected Institute for Fiscal Studies aim to hold Government to account - without which politicians will get away with their half-truths, elisions and dubious claims. This is a forensic examination - by the man best placed to do so - of the way the state raises and spends £1 trillion of our money every year. To follow the money. To provide an explanation, of where that money comes from and where it goes to, how that has changed and how it needs to change.

Government decisions determine the welfare of the poor and the elderly, the state of the health service, the effectiveness of our children's education, and how prepared we are for the future: whether that is a pandemic or global warming. As a society, we are a reflection of what the government spends.

Johnson looks at what happened following the financial crisis of 2008-09 and the austerity years that followed. He examines the way that the government tackled the economy during Covid - when the UK budget shot up to over a trillion for the first time - and he analyses prospects for our future as we grapple with looming recession and the cost of living crisis.

This book is the antidote to naivety that our political class needs. Anyone, in fact, who has strong views about how society should be run would benefit from reading it, because every political ambition costs money and as Johnson writes, "someone has to pay for all this"... The story he tells may leave you reeling... Johnson's buoyant yet acerbic style will keep you engaged. The sobering realities he lays out are peppered with entertaining asides * Book of the Week, Sunday Times *
So gripping and horrifying that it should probably come with a trigger warning: readers may find the content concerning the state of their country's governance upsetting... Given its subject matter, the book is a surprisingly easy read. That's thanks to Johnson's clear, witty prose. Few other writers could produce such a palatable explanation of the system of local government finance or make their readers guffaw over the details of VAT collection... This is a brilliant book. Buy it, read it and weep * The Times *
Erudite and informative * New Statesman *
A treasure trove of killer facts * Guardian *
Follow the Money is essential reading * Tortoise Media *
Read it, absorb it, and understand how the country works. Johnson uses his talent for crunching the complex into the comprehensible to produce a cheerfully skeptical guide to the British state, revealing it's wisdom and idiocy, and where our money really goes. * Laura Kuenssberg *
This is an important book by the economist who has set the terms of so much political debate over the past decade. If you want to understand why crazy politics routinely trumps economic rationality in government choices, read this. * Robert Peston *
Paul Johnson - the oracle of fiscal - has provided the perfect guide through this dense thicket of fiscal facts and fictions, both explaining the hard choices we now face and why, as citizens, it matters that we understand and act wisely when making them * Andy Haldane *
Fire and passion, combined with the facts. Every politician should get a copy, as the tales of short-sighted, election-fixated, cowardly decision-making are so depressing. And your way forward looks so blindingly sensible. * Polly Toynbee *
Readable and entertaining... Johnson pulls no punches in his new book on the public finances which charts Government public policy failures * Municipal Journal *
Readers interested in this subject could hardly hope for a better-qualified author... It should be compulsory reading for every MP and prospective government minister... packed full of interesting data and analysis... The real value of this book lies in the fact that Johnson does go far beyond the usual IFS mission, setting out his own agenda for the future * Literary Review *
[A] powerful dissection of the stupidities of how we organise taxing and spending -- Will Hutton * Observer *
Paul Johnson's sharp and thorough Follow the Money is based on an idea so clear that it's surprising nobody has thought of it before... an energetic and angry book, charged with a strong sense of frustration -- John Lanchester * London Review of Books *

ISBN: 9781408714010

Dimensions: 234mm x 160mm x 34mm

Weight: 540g

320 pages