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

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