Ruth Lea

Ruth Jane Lea CBE (born 22 September 1947[1]) is a British political economist and former civil servant.

Ruth Lea
Born (1947-09-22) 22 September 1947 (age 73)
Cheshire, England
InstitutionArbuthnot Latham (non-exec)
Alma mater
AwardsCommander of the Order of the British Empire

Lea joined the Civil Service before being recruited by the Institute of Directors, a private-sector employer lobbyist, as well as working for policy research bodies and the media.[2] She has been Arbuthnot Banking Group’s Economic Adviser since 2007[3] and served as an Independent Non-Executive Director from 2005 until 2016.[4]


Early life and education

Born in Cheshire to a farming family, Lea attended Lymm Grammar School before going up to the University of York (BA) and postgraduate studies at the University of Bristol (MSc).[5] She studied at the London School of Economics in 1973. She served almost 16 years in the British Civil Service, working in HM Treasury, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Central Statistical Office and at the Civil Service College, before becoming a Lecturer at Thames Polytechnic (now Greenwich University).


In 1988, she joined Mitsubishi Bank in the City rising to Chief Economist and became a regular television and radio commentator on economic matters. She was UK Economist at Lehman Brothers for one year until 1995, before her appointment as ITN's Economics Editor, and subsequently Head of the Policy Unit at the Institute of Directors, a post she held from 1995–2003.[2]

Lea was Director of the Centre for Policy Studies from 2004 to 2007 and of Global Vision[6] from 2007 to 2010.

Lea is a prolific writer on economic and business issues. A vocal critic of Gordon Brown’s economic policies, arguing that Labour's “big stateprofligacy undermined both UK public finances and economic competitiveness.[7][8] Deeply concerned about Britain’s high cost and fragile energy policies, she argues they damage business competitiveness[9] and suggests Britain’s trust in climate change policies is unlikely to have much impact on global carbon dioxide emissions given that the UK accounts for only 1½% of the global total.[10]

A robust and consistent opponent of UK membership of the Euro on economic grounds,[11] [12] Lea advocates a reformed relationship between the EU and Britain, proposing, as necessary, renegotiated EU membership terms similar to a Swiss-style agreement with Europe;[13] qv. European Free Trade Association.

Having served on the Councils of London University and the Royal Economic Society, the National Consumer Council, the Nurses' Pay Review Body, the Office for National Statistics Advisory Committee, the Economic and Social Research Priorities Board, the Retail Prices Advisory Committee and the Institute of Economic Affairs Shadow Monetary Policy Committee, she has served as a judge for several national achievement awards, was a governor of the London School of Economics.

Lea is currently Economic Adviser to the Arbuthnot Banking Group and was a non-executive director 2005–16.[14]

Honours and awards

A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of the Royal Statistical Society, she has been admitted a Freeman of the City of London and elected an Honorary Liveryman of the Curriers' Company.[15]

Dr Lea was appointed CBE in the 2015 New Year Honours List for "services to the financial and economic sectors".[16][17]

She has been awarded honorary doctorates by the University of Greenwich, BPP University College and the University of Chester (Hon DBAs).[citation needed]

CBE insignia

Views on climate change

Lea has voiced opposition to the control of greenhouse gases, claiming that "authorities on climate science say that the climate system is far too complex for modest reductions in one of the thousands of factors involved in climate change (ie. carbon emissions) to have a predictable effect in magnitude, or even direction".[18] Dr Lea argues against the ability of individual nation states doing much to combat climate change without concerted global efforts.

See also


  1. "Lea, Ruth Jane, (born 22 Sept. 1947), Economic Adviser, Arbuthnot Banking Group, since 2007 (non-executive Director, 2005–15)". WHO'S WHO & WHO WAS WHO. 2007. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.u24027. Retrieved 20 November 2020.
  2. Tran, Mark (17 October 2003). "Head of IoD policy unit quits". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
  5. "Ruth Jane Lea". Archived from the original on 5 June 2008. Retrieved 3 March 2010.
  7. Ruth Lea, “The profligate Chancellor: prudent no more”, Centre for Policy Studies, March 2004.
  8. Ruth Lea, “Tax ‘n’ spend: no way to run an economy”, Centre for Policy Studies, July 2004.
  9. Ruth Lea, “The lack of reliable and affordable energy supplies could seriously damage British manufacturing”, Arbuthnot Banking Group Perspective, 20 July 2009.
  10. Ruth Lea, “Britain’s high energy prices: the folly of wind-power”, Arbuthnot Banking Group Perspective, 17 October 2011.
  11. "Arbuthnot Latham".
  12. Kuenssberg, Laura (8 October 2015). "Cross-party UK EU exit group launches" via
  13. Ruth Lea and Brian Binley MP, “Britain and Europe: a new relationship”, Global Vision, 2012.
  14. "Economic Perspectives".
  16. "No. 61092". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2014. p. N9.
  17. "2015 New Year Honours List" (PDF).
  18. Ruth Lea (31 October 2006). "Just another excuse for higher taxes". London: Daily Telegraph