Pryce at a Policy Exchange conference, September 2014
July 1952 (age 66)
|Political party||Liberal Democrats|
(m. 1972; div. 1981)
(m. 1984; div. 2011)
|Criminal charge||Perverting the course of justice|
Vasiliki "Vicky" Pryce (née Kourmouzi (Greek: Βασιλική Κουρμούζη); born July 1952) is a Greek-born British economist, and former Joint Head of the United Kingdom's Government Economic Service. On 7 March 2013, Pryce and her former husband, Chris Huhne, were convicted of perverting the course of justice and sentenced to eight months in prison. After Huhne pleaded guilty, they both served nine weeks in prison.
After university she had, according to Ned Temko, a "glittering career" as an economist and then chief economist at Williams & Glyn's Bank (now part of the Royal Bank of Scotland) from 1973 to 1983; as corporate economist for Exxon Europe from 1983 to 1986; and as chief economist at Peat Marwick McLintock and KPMG from 1986 to 2001. When having a child, she took six weeks off for each one. She left KPMG at Blackfriars in late 2001, and worked for the London Economics consultancy. As of April 2015[update], she is on the advisory board of OMFIF where she is regularly involved in meetings regarding the financial and monetary system.
Department of Trade and Industry
Pryce joined the Department for Trade and Industry in August 2002 as Chief Economic Adviser, the first woman to be appointed to the post, for which the salary was about £110,000. She was also Chairwoman of the GoodCorporation, an organisation promoting ethical business practices.
Pryce was Deputy Head of the UK Government Economic Service from 2004 to 2007, and Joint Head from 2007 to 2010. She was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in the 2009 Birthday Honours but this was cancelled and annulled on 30 July 2013 following her release from prison.
In April 2010, it was announced that she would be leaving the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills where she was Director General, Economics, and Joint Head of the Government Economic Service, to become senior managing director at the finance consultancy firm FTI Consulting.
She has been a visiting professor at City University's Cass Business School from 2002 to 2006 and from 2008 to 2011, and at Imperial College Business School since 2010; a visiting Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford, since 2008; a Fellow of the Society of Business Economists since 2005, and has sat on the Council of the University of Kent since 2005 and the council of the Royal Society for the Arts from 2008 to 2009. She was a Member of the Council of the Royal Economic Society (REconS) from 2002 to 2007.
In October 2012, Biteback Publishing brought out her book Greekonomics, a discussion of the crises in the eurozone, with the focus on the country of her birth. Intended for a broad, not merely an academic, readership, the book discusses what Greek exit from the eurozone might mean.
In early July 2013 Vicky Pryce appeared as an expert witness before the House of Lords cross-party subcommittee on economic and financial affairs, saying she saw no quick end to the eurozone crisis since structural reform would take a long time. Pryce favoured fiscal policy that included a stimulus package and wanted the European Central Bank to buy bonds.
Pryce was interviewed twice by Essex Police in 2011 over allegations that, in 2003, she had accepted driving licence penalty points actually incurred by her husband, Chris Huhne (then an MEP). In 2012 it was announced that both would be charged with perverting the course of justice. Pryce entered a plea of not guilty, advancing a defence of marital coercion at trial. In March 2013, she was convicted of perverting the course of justice and was sentenced to eight months in prison, the same as Huhne.
Pryce and Huhne left prison on 13 May 2013, subject to electronic tagging. Pryce published a book based on her experience at HM Prison East Sutton Park in October 2013. The book, Prisonomics: Behind Bars in Britain's Failing Prisons, analyzes the economic and human costs of imprisoning women. Royalties will be donated to Working Chance, a charity helping former women prisoners find work.
In 1972 she married David Pryce, an LSE post-graduate student, whom she divorced in 1981, having had two daughters with him. In 1984, she married Chris Huhne, who later became an MEP and then the Liberal Democrat MP for Eastleigh and Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. They had three children together. They divorced in January 2011. From mid-2012 to date, Vicky Pryce has been personally involved with Denis MacShane, a one-time Labour Party MP (who was himself imprisoned, in December 2013, for fraudulent claiming of Parliamentary expenses).
Sir Nicholas Stern
| Head of the Government Economic Service
with Dave Ramsden
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