Richard Willis's Blog

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Gordon Brown Cost the UK £10bn in Gold Sales

Gold prices hit a record high today of $1,580.70, meaning that Gordon Brown’s decision to sell off 400 tonnes of gold in 1999 at a twenty year low in the market has cost the nation over £10 billion. On 7 May 1999, Gordon Brown announced that he was planning to sell off 400 tonnes of gold at a 20-year low in the market – now nicknamed the “Brown Bottom” by gold traders. Gordon Brown sold off Britain’s gold for between $256 and $296 an ounce, raising $3.496bn (£2.343bn at the then exchange rate). Since then the gold price has gone up more than 5 times to $1,580.70 an ounce. If the gold had not been sold it would now be worth £12.6 billion, over five times the £2.3 billion originally raised.

Treasury documents released under a freedom of information request show that Ed Balls and Ed Miliband were both copied into correspondence on the gold sale while working as Special Advisers to Gordon Brown at the time of the sale. Ed Balls is cc-ed in to the correspondence on pages 5, 12, 13, 14, 16, and 17 of the documents released under by the Treasury under an FOI request (link). Ed Miliband is also cc-ed on p. 14 of the releases. As the Times reported at the time ‘Key Treasury advisers including Ed Balls and Ed Miliband, who are both now senior Government ministers, were copied in to the correspondence’ (The Times, 1 April 2010).

The evidence is now overwhelming that Gordon Brown’s decision to sell off the nation’s gold reserves cost the country over £10 billion, equivalent to the cost of the 2012 Olympics or three brand new aircraft carriers.  Labour doubled the national debt and left the biggest deficit in peacetime history. Ed Miliband still can’t admit to Labour’s mistakes on the economy, but it is future generations who will be left paying for them.


July 14, 2011 - Posted by | National


  1. excellent!
    please keep reminding milliballs at every chance you get.
    best regards
    philip smith
    BN25 2QE

    Comment by philip smith | July 14, 2011 | Reply

  2. Kind of odd world that we live in! People go to extreme lengths to get gold out of the earth, and then countries go and store it by the hundreds of tons in highly secure vaults so that nobody can steal it. Hmmm!

    Comment by Howard Thomas | July 16, 2011 | Reply

  3. Gordon Brown, our esteemed ex Chancellor and ex-PM. Sold the gold at knock down prices, at a cost of billions to the UK, allowed ‘health’ tourists to invade our NHS at a cost of billions and seemingly did not notice? Where did he learn to do his arithmetic???????? It wasn’t the same Kirkcaldy High School where I was a pupil.
    I thought Chancellors had their fingers on the pulse of the nation’s money? Bet he hasn’t sold his own gold though!

    Comment by Norma Rutherford | July 24, 2011 | Reply

  4. Seems like scandalous ineptitude to me. How did he have authority to do this? Has there been any inquiry into it?

    Comment by Chas Dawson | August 5, 2011 | Reply

  5. $1800 today. More like €15 billion Loser.

    Comment by Peter Morgan | August 11, 2011 | Reply

  6. Nearly £18 billion now and possibly rising, that’s £275 lost for each of us, yes, each!!!!!!!!. Trouble is, Milliband and Balls still reside in dangerous positions. And why have the Information Commissioner and the Treasury agreed that most of the paperwork is still to be hidden from the public?

    Comment by G Murry | September 17, 2011 | Reply

  7. Richard
    They have charged politicians in Hungary and the Ukraine with economic ineptiude. Why don’t we do the same thing in this country to that half-wit Brown? He clearly sold our gold for his own political career and personal advancement.

    Comment by Michael Hampshire | September 23, 2011 | Reply

    • I agree!

      Comment by Richard Willis | September 23, 2011 | Reply

  8. One can also argue that if George Osborne had bought 1000 tons of gold after the last election, and sold it at the last gold price peak, he would have made a profit of £11 billion. So why didn’t he do that, then? Is it only Gordon Brown who is supposed to have psychic powers of predicting changes in the gold market?

    Comment by John | January 19, 2012 | Reply

  9. Also see the article in the Financial Times “Britain was right to sell its pile of gold”

    Alan Beattie writes “On this one occasion, Mr Brown’s decision was the right one. Let speculators go gambling on a shiny metal, if they want to. For most governments in rich countries, holding gold remains a largely pointless activity”

    Comment by John | January 19, 2012 | Reply

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