Peter Hoskin

Where is the axe going to fall?

Where is the axe going to fall?
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If you want a sense of where our politicians are when it comes to sorting out the nation's finances then I'd recommend you read this briefing paper which the IFS released earlier today.  What it shows, in stark graphs and charts, is what Adam Boulton, Andrew Neil et al were getting at in Labour's press conference earlier: yes, we know that there are significant cuts to come, but none of the parties are really letting on just where they will come from.  

To my eyes, this chart tells the story particularly well.  It depicts how much each party will cut "unprotected" departmental spending by - and how much of those cuts has still got to be identified.  There are two bars for Labour, depending on how long they protect education spending for:

So, Labour still have to find about £45 billion of cuts; the Lib Dems £34 billion; and the Tories £52.5 billion.  And that's just to get a position where the government's annual overspend is reduced - but not eradicated.  There are few more startling indictments of the political debate about cuts - and of Labour's decision not to release a spending review - than the IFS's work today.