The Coalition, Mussolini and the Manipulation of Statistical and Budgetary Government Bureaux

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Mussolini Pic

One of the other parallels between the Coalition and Fascist Italy is the way they both have deliberately reorganised government statistical and financial departments in order to provide spurious economic figures supporting the regime and its policies. The Tories set up the Office of Budgetary Responsibility, which was supposed to provide financial information supporting the government’s austerity programme. Despite its ideological raison d’etre, the Office still has some kind of independence, as a couple of times it has criticised the government’s austerity campaigns for slowing and destroying economic growth.

Similarly, Mussolini reorganised the Institute of Statistics and the Corte dei conti to take them out of parliamentary control, and make them subordinate to him personally. Denis Mack Smith in his biography, Mussolini (London: Paladin 1983) writes

The manipulation of economic facts was an essential part of Mussolini’s system. He gained much credit by promising that his annual budget would be…

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