More spending cuts on the way if coalition is to meet savings targets

If the coalition is to meet its spending targets it will have to make further cuts to departmental budgets.

Public sector job losses could be significantly more than one million, according to a report published yesterday by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Due to the government’s failure to hit its savings targets, job losses in the public sector could be 300,000 higher by the end of 2017/18 than predicted, according to the IFS’s annual analysis of the government’s spending plans.

Within the IFS’s report, however, was also contained the prediction that, if the government continues to ring-fence the NHS budget, overseas aid and schools, spending cuts will need to be significantly more severe if the coalition is to meet the targets of its fiscal consolidation plan.

As things stand, just to keep his current savings plan on track, George Osborne will need to make much larger cuts to departmental budgets than he originally intended.

As we can see from the graphs below, the bar on the left represents what the government intends to cut while the bar on the right represents what the government will need to cut unless it reconsiders its policy of ring-fencing select budgets or increases government revenue through tax rises.

As the report phrases it:

“If such further cuts to departmental spending are not possible without a decline in the quality or quantity of public services that is unacceptable to politicians or to voters, then higher borrowing, further tax increases or social security spending cuts – perhaps after the next general election – must be on the cards.”

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