Peter Hoskin

Coalition cuts: the IFS’s verdict is in

Coalition cuts: the IFS's verdict is in
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So, the number-crunchers at the Institute for Fiscal Studies have worked their magic and delivered their verdict on today's spending cuts.  You can find their summary here, although the standout line is that the £5 billion in reduced borrowing implied by today's cuts is "less than a tenth of the fiscal repair job that Alistair Darling's March 2010 Budget forecast suggested will be needed over the next few years". 

In terms of capturing just how much remains to to be done, it's a sobering remark.  But it's worth remembering that a Labour government wouldn't have made these extra £6 billion of cuts this year.  So, by the same thinking, they would have achieved even less than "less than a tenth of the fiscal repair job that Alistair Darling's March 2010 Budget forecast suggested will be needed over the next few years".

As for actual numbers, the IFS calculate that departmental spending is now down by 1.2 percent on Labour's plans for this year, rising to 3.7 percent for unprotected departments.  As countless folk have observed today, it's a start – but we're still operating in the margins here.  Indeed, if the Office for Budget Responsibility were to upgrade borrowing forecasts before the Emergency Budget, then this year's figures may not differ much from those in the last Budget – even when this £5 billion cut is accounted for.