Will Hutton

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Will Hutton (born 21 May 1950) is a British author and columnist. A former editor of The (UK) Observer newspaper, he is a chief executive of The Work Foundation, formerly known as the Industrial Society,[1] and chair of the Employment Policy Institute, a think-tank on employment. From 1990 to 1996 he was economics editor of the Guardian. A former stockbroker, from 1983 to 1988 Hutton was economics correspondent for BBC 2's 'Newsnight'. He is a member of the governing council of the Policy Studies Institute, the Institute for Political Economy and Charter 88. He is on the editorial board of New Economy and is a governor of the London School of Economics. He is a trustee of the Scott Trust that owns the Guardian Media Group, rapporteur of the Kok group, a member of the Design Council's Millennium Commission, and a Fellow of the Sunningdale Institute.

Chris Hastings, writing in the Daily Telegraph (former proprietor: Conrad Black), calls Hutton "Britain's foremost critic of capitalism" and "an outspoken advocate for affordable social housing". The article points out, however, that "Mr Hutton's wife heads a company called First Premise, which owns and manages dozens of commercial and residential properties in London. The company specialises in renovating rundown properties - often with the help of public grants - and then makes a profit by selling or renting them out." In Hastings' view, "The disclosure that Mr Hutton's own family is among those capitalising on Britain's property boom will be an acute embarrassment for him."[2]

Hastings quotes Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe's scornful comment on the revelation: "I have nothing against property developers. However, the word hypocrite might be useful here. Mr Hutton has displayed a typical socialist attitude - 'do as I say, not as I do'." Hastings adds that Mrs Hutton uses her maiden name of Atkinson for the venture, and quotes her as saying that First Premise "has a proud track record of regenerating areas that other developers had been unwilling to take on". The Telegraph accompanied this story with another expose, co-authored by Hastings, entitled "Will Hutton is the Left-wing commentator famed for his attacks on Britain's landlord culture ... yet his family's housing empire is a monument to the profit motive".[3]

Hutton co-edited the book On The Edge with Anthony Giddens. The book is largely a defence of capitalism (its subtitle is "Living with global capitalism") that brings together essays by George Soros, Manuel Castells, Paul Volcker, Jeff Faux and Larry Mishel, Vandana Shiva, Arlie Russel Hochschild, Robert Kuttner, Ulrich Beck, Richard Sennett, and Polly Toynbee. The overall message of the book is that markets are basically benevolent, creating wealth and generating efficiency.

Ignoring his place alongside Lord Stevenson on ERA, Hutton writes in the Guardian on Private Equity Companies in the usual contradictory/third way manner.

"This is not pro- but anti-wealth-creation. In this respect the attitude of private equity closely mimics that of the Chinese communist party. Both conceive of companies as networks of contracts between capital and labour that generate revenue streams to be manipulated by whoever has central control for personal or political advantage [...] Private equity cannot be outlawed; in any case it can do a good job."



  1. "Will Hutton", British Council website, accessed October 2008
  2. Chris Hastings, "The estate he's in - leading critic of housing profiteers is beneficiary of property empire", The Daily Telegraph, 18 April 2004, accessed October 2008
  3. Chris Hastings, Fiona Govan and David Marley, "Will Hutton is the Left-wing commentator famed for his attacks on Britain's landlord culture ... yet his family's housing empire is a monument to the profit motive", The Daily Telegraph, 18 April 2004, accessed October 2008