The Daily Telegraph
Economic ‘ideas man’ had resisted carbon taxes
Truss wastes no time in appointing ‘safe’ Sinclair as her key adviser on tackling the cost of living
LIZ TRUSS has appointed a new chief economic adviser who previously warned against heavy-handed green energy measures and wrote a book on how to shrink the state.
Matthew Sinclair, described by former colleagues as a “safe pair of hands”, has been appointed as the country faces an unprecedented surge in energy costs amid Russia’s war in Ukraine.
He will enter Downing Street as part of an inexperienced top team under the new Prime Minister, after she ordered a mass clear-out of officials who had served under Boris Johnson.
Ms Truss wielded the axe shortly after taking power yesterday with even the former prime minister’s deputy chief of staff, David Canzini, who had been tipped to stay on at No 10, failing to survive the cull.
Mr Sinclair, 38, has held a number of roles in the private sector, most recently at Big Four accounting firm Deloitte, where he led its work on the digital economy. He has also worked on projects for both the UK and European parliaments.
He rose through the ranks of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, joining as a policy analyst but rising to chief executive in 2012. During this time, he made the case for small government, low taxes and ensuring that more British families get value for money.
Matthew Elliott, founder of the Taxpayers Alliance, who hired Mr Sinclair, said: “He is very much an ideas person but he’s able to deliver the detail in spades. That’s going to prove very useful in government.”
Mr Sinclair has written books calling on public officials to be transparent about how they use taxpayers’ cash, demanding that the public have access to “full data” on where their money goes in a 2010 book, How to Cut Public Spending (And Still Win an Election).
He has also spoken out in favour of clear tax and spending rules, with fiscal targets and a system that prizes simplicity, as well as abolishing unnecessary quangos, maintaining a lean Civil Service, and decentralising power.
Mr Sinclair has also criticised MPS for using “climate change as an excuse to take your money”.
In Let Them Eat Carbon, a book written in 2011, he argued that environmental levies were often excessive compared with the harms they were designed to address.
He campaigned against the so-called “fuel duty escalator”, a carbon tax introduced by Lord Clarke as chancellor which he said was costlier to the taxpayer than the social cost of greenhouse emissions. Many green levies, he added, were a “cover story for higher taxes”.
Mr Sinclair was also the joint author of a report on behalf of the 2020 Tax Commission, which called for a flat rate of income tax.
Andrew Lilico, chairman and executive director at Europe Economics, which hired Mr Sinclair as a consultant, said he did not belong to a world where economists “preach emptily” from “ivory towers”.
Mr Lilico said: “He’s fundamentally a micro rather than a macro economist. That puts him in the right position to be thinking about some of the big challenges we face, like raising long-term
‘He’s a micro rather than a macro economist. That puts him in the right place to be thinking of the challenges’
growth, how to shape business regulation, and how taxes impact growth.
“He’s got much more of a grip on those sorts of questions, than economic advisers we’ve seen in the past.”
Other key members of the new Prime Minister’s top team include Mark Fullbrook, an ally of Mr Johnson’s former election strategist Lynton Crosby, who was appointed chief of staff.
He acted as co-director of Ms Truss’s campaign but was also criticised after it emerged that his company previously lobbied the Government on behalf of the Libyan parliament.
Ms Truss has split the top spin doctor job in two, with Adam Jones, one of her special advisers, assuming a political role and Simon Mcgee running day-today communications. Only John Bew from Mr Johnson’s top team will stay on as an adviser on foreign affairs.
Ms Truss moved yesterday to completely reform the No10 operation, departing radically from her predecessor’s style of government.
She disbanded the Policy Unit, a team of political officials in charge of co-ordinating all policy areas, replacing it with advisers who have their own briefs.
At their helm is Jamie Hope, a former adviser of hers blamed for the campaign gaffe about lowering public service workers’ pay outside of London.