Professor Julian Hoppit (UCL) talks about his new book “The Dreadful Monster and its Poor Relations – taxing, spending and the United kingdom 1707-2021” with Professor Colin Talbot (University of Manchester and The Federal Trust).

Modern arguments over public finances within the UK, and how far the nations of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland/Northern Ireland are treated fairly and equally are nothing new. Starting from the 1707 Act of Union between Scotland and Britain, through the 1801 Union of Great Britain and Ireland and the 1922 independence of 26 counties of Ireland Hoppit has tracked the debates, and facts, about tax and spending.

Over the first half of this 300 years debates mainly focussed on taxes, but with the slow growth of the ‘welfare state’ spending moved to centre stage. Today it dominates debates, although tax differences between Scotland and the rest are now slowly emerging as an issue.



Professor Julian Hoppit, FBA, is Astor Professor of British History at University College London.

Professor Colin Talbot is Emeritus  Professor of Government at the University of Manchester and a Senior Research Fellow of the Federal Trust.

This interview is part of the Federal Trust’s INTERGOV project led by Professor Colin Talbot, exploring intergovernmental relations in the UK.