Sir Samuel Brittan (born 29 December 1933) is an English journalist and author. He was the first economics correspondent for the Financial Times, and has since been a long-time columnist. He is member of the Academic Advisory Council of the Global Warming Policy Foundation ("restoring balance and trust to the climate debate").
Born in London, the son of a doctor, Brittan is the brother of Leon Brittan who was Home Secretary under Margaret Thatcher.
Brittan was educated at Kilburn Grammar School, a former state grammar school in Kilburn in the London Borough of Brent in north-west London, (now a state comprehensive school known as Queens Park Community School), followed by Jesus College at the University of Cambridge, where he was taught by Peter Bauer and Milton Friedman and gained a First Class degree. Brittan later recalled receiving 'one of best put-down remarks I have ever encountered' from Friedman:
[Friedman] mentioned to me a letter he had received from Arthur Burns saying that Eisenhower was turning out well as President. I expressed surprise, to which Friedman responded: 'First, Burns has much better knowledge of Eisenhower. Second, given equal knowledge I would prefer his opinion to yours.' Against The Flow (2005)
Life and career
In 1961, Brittan was appointed economics editor at The Observer newspaper until 1964 and in 1965 was appointed as an advisor at the Department of Economic Affairs. Then in 1966 he was appointed as an economic commentator at the Financial Times.
In March 1981, when 364 leading economists wrote a letter to The Times criticising Margaret Thatcher's economic policy, Brittan was one of the few commentators to openly defend the Conservative government's policy. He was a member of the Peacock Committee on the Finance of the BBC from 1985 to 1986.
Brittan has been awarded the Orwell, Senior Harold Wincott and Ludwig Erhard prizes. In 1993, Brittan was knighted 'for services to economic journalism'. He is the brother of Leon Brittan, who served as Thatcher's Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Home Secretary and President of the Board of Trade, and then as a European Commissioner. He and Leon are cousins of Malcolm Rifkind, who served as Scottish Secretary, Transport Secretary, Defence Secretary and Foreign Secretary under Thatcher and John Major; all three are cousins once removed of producer Mark Ronson. Brittan was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Essex in 1994.
Brittan states that he has always been an "individualist liberal".
- Samuel Brittan, The Treasury under the Tories, 1951-64 (Secker & Warburg, 1964).
- Samuel Brittan, Left or Right: The Bogus dilemma (Secker & Warburg, 1968).
- Samuel Brittan, Capitalism and the Permissive Society (Macmillan, 1973).
- Samuel Brittan, The Economic Consequences of Democracy (Temple Smith, 1977).
- Samuel Brittan, A Restatement of Economic Liberalism (Macmillan, 1988).
- Samuel Brittan, Capitalism With A Human Face (Edward Elgar, 1995).
- Samuel Brittan, Essays, Moral, Political and Economic (Edinburgh University Press, 1998).
- Samuel Brittan, Against The Flow (Grove Atlantic Ltd., 2005).