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Economic historians warn against immediate spending cuts

3 March 2010

A letter warning against immediate cuts in public spending and urging knowledge-based economic growth signed by twenty senior economic historians, including academics in Bristol University’s Department of Historical Studies, is published in The Guardian today.

Dr Richard Sheldon, Professor Roger Middleton and Dr Hugh Pemberton, with other members of the History & Policy Network, echo recent comments by over 60 economists in letters to the Financial Times

However, they also argue that, in both historical and international contexts, Britain's current level of public debt is relatively low.  They urge the next government not to slash public spending in the short to medium term, but to support knowledge-based growth that can drive economic recovery and speed up debt repayment.

The letter was initiated by Dr Glen O'Hara of Oxford Brookes University and Dr Simon Szreter of St John's College, Cambridge, co-founder of History & Policy, an independent initiative working for better public policy through an understanding of history.

The initiative was founded by historians at the Universities of Cambridge and London and is based in the Centre for Contemporary British History at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London.

History & Policy's current work is funded with charitable grants from Arcadia and The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

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