Are the Conservatives now the party of high tax and spend

Monday, 4th October 15:15 – 16:15


By the end of this parliament, total government spending is due to be at levels not seen since the 60s. Tax rises are pencilled in and public sector debt levels have been steadily rising since 2008. The picture is bleak. Do the Conservatives still deserve the reputation of fiscal responsibility? Are we destined for a decade of high tax and spend?

Mike Denham (Chair) | is chairman of the TaxPayers’ Alliance. He is a former Treasury economist who worked extensively on public spending and fiscal analysis during the 1970s and 1980s. Mike then moved on to work in the City for many years as an investment manager, staying closely in touch with fiscal and monetary policy developments.

Cllr Ben Bradley MP | has been MP for Mansfield since 2017 and Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council since May 2021. Before entering politics, Ben worked as a landscape gardener, an Administrator, Recruitment Consultant, and a Parliamentary Assistant. Ben has a degree in Politics from Nottingham Trent University, is also a qualified hockey coach and Nottingham Forest supporter.

Brendan Clarke-Smith MP | has been the MP for Bassetlaw since 2019. Brendan studied politics at Nottingham Trent University and was previously a teacher and later head of an International School in Romania.

Darwin Friend | is a Policy Analyst for the Taxpayer’s Alliance. He has a first class degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from the University of East Anglia and has previously worked for an MP analysing government policy.

Dr Gerard Lyons | Dr Gerard Lyons is a senior fellow at Policy Exchange and is one of the UK’s leading economists. Described by The Times as “one of the most influential analysts of the global economy”, he has over thirty years experience in the City having held senior business and research roles with some of the world’s largest international banks. In 2010-2011, Bloomberg ranked him the number one forecaster globally. Gerard is a regular contributor at international fora, having spoken at the IMF, Davos and in the Great Hall of People in Beijing, as well as testifying to committees in both houses of the UK Parliament and committees of the US Senate and Congress. Among his current roles, Gerard is chief economic strategist at Netwealth and has sat on the advisory board of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at LSE and Imperial since its inception.