IFS: Autumn Statement will mean ‘colossal’ spending cuts

Plans set out by Chancellor George Osborne in his Autumn Statement will force public spending cuts on  “a colossal scale” following the election according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

The BBC reports the IFS says that whilst £35bn of cuts has already been brought in by the government, a further £55bn was still to come.

IFS director Paul Johnson says specific details of the cuts had yet to be confirmed by the Treasury.

He added that voters would be right to ask if the Chancellor was plotting a “fundamental reimagining of the role of the state”.

Mr Johnson said the plans set out in the Autumn Statement implied “a slight increase in the speed of proposed spending cuts after 2015-16”, extending the expected period of reductions in state spending for a further year beyond 2017-18, Mr Johnson said.

To achieve the Office for Budget Responsibility’s forecast of a budget surplus of £23bn by 2019-20 would require “spending cuts on a colossal scale … taking total government spending to its lowest level as a proportion of national income since before the last war,” he said.

On the measure of total government spending minus spending on debt interest, public expenditure was down by £11bn over the four years to 2014-15, but was set to fall by a further £38bn in the five years to 2019-20.