How Gordon Brown Cost Britain £21 Billion

Gordon Brown's ill-fated decision to sell off Britain's gold reserves in 1999 has cost the country £21 billion, analysis suggests.

The then-chancellor oversaw the sale of 401 tons of gold – more than half of the country's holding – 25 years ago this week. The damage was made even worse by Brown announcing the sale in advance, which drove the price down even further.

But the price of gold at the time of the first auction was at its lowest in 20 years – $261 an ounce – compared with a spot price today of $2,316. The gold sold by Labour would have been worth £23.6 billion today – £21.3 billion more than what the Treasury received in 1999.

Bim Afolami, economic secretary to the Treasury, said: 'Twenty-five years on, the British people are still paying the price for Gordon Brown's poor mismanagement of our economy.

'The Labour leader may have changed but there's nothing new about them – just like last time they would take us back to square one with higher taxes, higher unemployment and a plot to betray pensioners.'

At the time, gold made up about half of the UK's foreign currency net reserves, and so the Treasury suggested selling off the asset to avoid being exposed to potentially volatile prices.

But the timing of the sale was questioned by gold traders, who said the price was near its lowest at the time. 

Mr Brown has previously been drafted in for help by Sir Keir Starmer. 

One of his longest-serving advisers, Lord Livermore, was handed a senior role in Labour's Treasury team last year.

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