Don't let it be lazily said that Labour and the Conservatives are 'the same'
The next time someone (particularly someone on the left) tells you that Labour and the Conservatives are the same, point them to today’s Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) assessment of the parties’ spending plans for the next parliament.
We’ll start with the Conservatives.
Conservative plans for a reduction in borrowing in the next parliament require ‘some large spending cuts or tax increases’, as the IFS puts it. It adds:
Departments outside the NHS, education and aid look to be facing cuts of 17.9 per cent between 2014–15 and 2018–19. This would imply average cuts to these spending areas of one third in real terms from the start of austerity (in 2010-11) up to 2018-19. These ‘unprotected’ areas include defence, transport, law and order and social care.
As for Labour, according to the IFS:
[Labour] have pledged to ‘get a surplus on the current budget’ without specifying either exactly when or how much of a surplus. This pledge could be consistent with any reduction in borrowing totalling 3.6 per cent of national income or more (given the coalition government’s investment plans). A reduction in borrowing of 3.6 per cent of national income would require little in the way of spending cuts or tax increases after this year.
In terms of the measures required by Labour to bring about their plans, the IFS says that:
If [Labour] can find £7.5 billion of revenues from anti-avoidance measures, as they say they can, then they might need to find a mere £1 billion from further real cuts to unprotected departmental spending.
So there is a choice and it is between ‘cuts of 17.9 per cent between 2014–15 and 2018–19‘ and ‘little in the way of spending cuts or tax increases after this year“.
Don’t let it be lazily said that Labour and the Conservatives are ‘the same’.
James Bloodworth is the editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow him on TwitterLike this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.