New Research: Brown's gold sale cost taxpayers' £8 billion

April 23, 2011 7:31 PM

With the gold price hitting $1,500, new TaxPayers' Alliance research updates the staggering cost of the decision to sell 395 tonnes of gold at the absolute bottom of the market. As reported in the Express this morning, it cost taxpayers £8.2 billion.

Matthew Sinclair, Director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Gordon Brown’s decision to sell our gold reserves at what turned out to be the bottom of the market has cost taxpayers billions. That mistake was compounded by ignoring concerns from traders and at the Bank of England, instead working with a narrow circle of advisers like Ed Balls and getting such a low price it is now known as the Brown Bottom. There needs to be proper accountability for this shocking waste of money and the full story released of how the decision was made and who profited so we can learn from such a huge mistake.”

In April 2007, the Sunday Times revealed that the Treasury ignored advice from traders and concerns at the Bank of England. Since then, as the gold price has continued to rise, the cost to taxpayers of selling at a lower price has mounted and gold that was worth £2.2 billion when it was sold is now worth £11.6 billion. The assets bought with the money haven't produced nearly as strong a return, and are only worth £3.4 billion. The difference between those two values is the £8.2 billion cost of Brown's mistake.

You can see the calculations, and links to the sources, here:



 
 With the gold price hitting $1,500, new TaxPayers' Alliance research updates the staggering cost of the decision to sell 395 tonnes of gold at the absolute bottom of the market. As reported in the Express this morning, it cost taxpayers £8.2 billion.

Matthew Sinclair, Director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Gordon Brown’s decision to sell our gold reserves at what turned out to be the bottom of the market has cost taxpayers billions. That mistake was compounded by ignoring concerns from traders and at the Bank of England, instead working with a narrow circle of advisers like Ed Balls and getting such a low price it is now known as the Brown Bottom. There needs to be proper accountability for this shocking waste of money and the full story released of how the decision was made and who profited so we can learn from such a huge mistake.”

In April 2007, the Sunday Times revealed that the Treasury ignored advice from traders and concerns at the Bank of England. Since then, as the gold price has continued to rise, the cost to taxpayers of selling at a lower price has mounted and gold that was worth £2.2 billion when it was sold is now worth £11.6 billion. The assets bought with the money haven't produced nearly as strong a return, and are only worth £3.4 billion. The difference between those two values is the £8.2 billion cost of Brown's mistake.

You can see the calculations, and links to the sources, here:



 
 

Latest Blogs:

TaxPayers' Alliance Icon

The sugar tax and the public finances

6:00 AM 05, Dec 2016 Harry Fairhead

TaxPayers' Alliance Icon

Working for the taxman

6:00 AM 26, Nov 2016 Harry Fairhead

TaxPayers' Alliance Icon

Further thoughts on the Autumn Statement

4:56 PM 24, Nov 2016 James Price

TaxPayers' Alliance Icon

Have we had too much austerity?

10:57 AM 23, Nov 2016 Alex Wild