IFS Briefing Notes (BN16)

The Government's fiscal rules

Date: 01 April 2001 (revised 28 November 2006)
Authors: Carl Emmerson , Christine Frayne and Sarah Love
DOI: 10.1920/bn.ifs.2001.0016
The government announced in June 1998 that, under the guidelines of its Code for Fiscal Stability, it would keep to two fiscal rules. These are designed to help to achieve the central economic objective of high and stable levels of growth and employment. This short paper starts by describing the two fiscal rules and then looks at the latest set of HM Treasury forecasts, which suggest that these rules will indeed be met. We then go on to discuss the level of uncertainty that is implicit in any public finance forecasts and the importance of remembering that, if the rules are to continue to be met, a degree of caution should be maintained.