IFS chief agrees with Labour: a Tory government could make £70 billion in public spending cuts

The independent think tank has backed Ed Balls' claim that the Conservatives are planning £70 billion worth of public spending cuts

 

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has backed Ed Balls’ claim that the Conservatives are planning £70 billion worth of public spending cuts if they win the General Election.

Speaking to BBC News yesterday afternoon, director of the IFS Paul Johnson said that looking at Tory plans it’s not very difficult to come to a world in which you are looking at £50-60-70 billion of spending cuts over that period.

Unveiling Labour’s analysis of how Tory spending plans would affect Whitehall departments, shadow chancellor Ed Balls yesterday accused the Conservatives of planning “extreme” post-election spending cuts.

And if comments made by their director on BBC News yesterday afternoon are anything to go by, the IFS appear to agree. Asked what he made of Labour claims and Tory counter-claims, Johnson said:

“Well, look, there’s an awful lot of confusing numbers out there. The reason that Ed Balls has been able to come up with a number like £70 billion-worth of cuts is because if you look at the last Autumn Statement, it does say the Government is looking for a £20-odd billion surplus by the end of the next Parliament. And the Conservatives have said they want £10 billion-worth of tax cuts. You put all of that together and it’s not very difficult to come to a world in which you are looking at £50-60-70 billion of spending cuts over that period.

David Cameron has promised to protect the NHS budget in real terms and schools’ cash budgets. However Conservative MP Charles Walker has broken rank to question the NHS ringfence. Speaking on the Daily Politics yesterday, Walker said that ring-fences “create a great deal of pressure in other places and it’s an argument that’s going to continue. I’m not sure that I agree with it”.

James Bloodworth is the editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter

6 Responses to “IFS chief agrees with Labour: a Tory government could make £70 billion in public spending cuts”

  1. madasafish

    hmm…. there is an FT article today arguing the exact opposite:

    .

    “Osborne finds austerity breathing space” http://tinyurl.com/p5z7kqh

    “George Osborne is looking at relaxing the Treasury’s assumption of deep austerity over the next five years in next week’s Budget,”

    Ed Balls is going to look a right idiot if the above article is only half true…

  2. Mike B

    I heard Shapps claiming that Ed Balls figures were rubbished by the IFS but then an IFS spokesperson saying more positive things about them (of course highly respected organisations such as the IFS present highly nuanced analysis whereas politicians prefer sound bites). It seems to me that misattributing claims to an independent organisation like the IFS as Shapps did is more than just a mistake, it is possibily actionable. I know Shapps uses pseudonyms in his professional life as well but this must put his credibility severely in doubt.

  3. Stephen Bee

    When was his credibility ever NOT in doubt 🙂

  4. Guest

    So you bring up something else and then make nonsense with it.

  5. Gary Scott

    Regardless of the finer points on these figures its clear that these cuts will be disastrous for the people of Britain. The government measures success in share prices of huge multinational companies. ‘Too big to fail’ is simply blackmail on our government. When bailed out they sack tens of thousands of employees. Why aren’t we measuring our success by what people are doing and acting in the best interests of the people? Since Thatcherism spread its tentacles through British society we seem to have forgotten in whose interests the government should act. Politics needs a shake up.

  6. Leon Wolfeson

    And the only realistic way to get that is voting reform.

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