Publications

'Where's the money coming from?' Tracing the history of manifesto costings in UK elections, 1955 - 2019

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Author 

Dr. Peter Sloman

Peter Sloman is University Senior Lecturer in British Politics at POLIS and a Fellow and Dean at Churchill College. Before joining POLIS in 2015, he spent ten years in Oxford as a student at Queen's and a junior research fellow at New College.

Peter's research focuses on electoral politics, political ideas, and public policy in modern Britain. His first book, The Liberal Party and the Economy, 1929-1964 (Oxford, 2015) explored how British Liberals engaged with economic thought in the era of John Maynard Keynes and William Beveridge. His second book, Transfer State (Oxford, 2019), examines how the idea of a guaranteed minimum income has shaped British social policy over the last century.

Published 

November 2019

About this Report

This is a working paper titled, 'Where's the money coming from?' Tracing the history of manifesto costing in UK elections, 1955 - 2019.

Dr Peter Sloman looks through the history of manifesto costing in the UK to answer questions on the politics of spending promises.

It should be clear from this historical survey that manifesto costings have been a ritual feature of British general elections for more than sixty years. Tax and spending lie at the heart of British political debate, and recent contests in other Westminster democracies such as Australia and Canada show a similar pattern. The Westminster model of majoritarian, single-party government forces parties to aggregate their policies before each election and draws the electorate into the budgetary process.

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  • About the author

    Dr Peter Sloman, University Lecturer, Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge

    Peter Sloman is University Lecturer in British Politics at POLIS and a Fellow of Churchill College. Before joining POLIS in 2015 he spent ten years in Oxford, where he obtained his DPhil and held a junior research fellowship at New College. His first book, The Liberal ...   Learn more

    Peter Sloman