SPE Practitioner Series: Taxation and Democracy

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In this SPE Practitioner Series event, we look at the democratic issues that the fiscal responses to the COVID-19 crisis raise

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Rishi Sunak’s first budget as Chancellor of the Exchequer in early 2020 was unlike any other.

Responding to the emerging threat of COVID-19, he announced a massive expansion of government spending to mitigate the worst effects of the pandemic.

Since then, the government has spent hundreds of billions of pounds on business support, furlough schemes and other programmes in response to the pandemic – a crisis that claimed more than 125,000 lives in the UK and many more livelihoods. A crisis also, that shrunk the British economy by 10 per cent and thus a crisis that has the potential to transform the British government’s approaches to spending and investment.

In this SPE Practitioner Series event, we ask about the democratic aspects that these responses to the crises raise: What are the distributional consequences of the fiscal and monetary measures taken by the government since the outbreak of the COVID crisis? How will the government likely pay for the costs of COVID and climate change in the coming decades? How should we weigh considerations of economic development and economic justice when thinking about paying for the crisis in the coming years?

We are delighted to be able to discuss these questions with expert practitioners and academics from our School of Politics and Economics.


Martin Weale

Martin Weale is Professor of Economics at King's Busines School. Martin graduated in 1977 in economics from Clare College, Cambridge. On graduating he took up an Overseas Development Institute Fellowship at the National Statistics Office in Malawi. He returned to Cambridge in 1979 to work on economic modelling projects, before becoming an assistant lecturer in 1987 and subsequently a lecturer in the Faculty of Economics and Politics.

In 1986-7 Martin held a Houblon-Norman Fellowship at the Bank of England. He became director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research in 1995, holding the post until he joined the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee in 2010. He took up his chair at King's after completing a second three-year term as an external member of the committee.


Sir Robert Chote

Robert Chote is a former chairman of the Office of Budget Responsibility, the UK’s fiscal watchdog (2010-2020). From 2017 to 2020, he also chaired the OECD’s network of parliamentary budget officials and independent fiscal institutions. Previously, Robert served as director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies from 2002 to 2010, as an advisor to senior management at the International Monetary Fund from 1999 to 2002, as Economics Editor of the Financial Times from 1995 to 1999, and as an economics and business writer on the Independent and Independent on Sunday from 1990 to 1994.

Dame Margaret Hodge

Margaret Hodge has been Member of Parliament for Barking since 1994 (Labour). Previously, she served as leader of Islington London Borough Council (1982-1992). She held numerous ministerial roles and was chair of the Public Accounts Committee from 2010 to 2015. She counts as one of the Labour Party’s foremost tax experts.

Inga Rademacher

Inga Rademacher is DAAD Fachlektor in German Transnational Politics in the Department of European and International Studies at King’s College London. Her research is focussed on the grand shifts of fiscal governance in the 1970s and 2010s. She currently works on a project based on her PhD thesis which investigates the evolution of different income tax regimes in the US, Germany, and the UK.

Julian Limberg

Julian Limberg is a lecturer in public policy in the Department of Political Economy at King’s College London. His research is focussed on the dynamics of inequality, tax policy-making, and fiscal capacity building over the long run of history. One aspect of his research has focused on the effect of financial crises on tax progressivity.

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