Public spending analysis

Date: 22 June 2010
Contacts: Carl Emmerson , Robert Chote , Rowena Crawford and Gemma Tetlow
In recent Budgets the previous Labour government was unclear about the cuts implied to public service spending by their plan to limit the overall growth of public spending. Analysis by IFS researchers, drawing on accumulated experience of evaluating the public finances, was able to shed light on this and has been central to informing public debate. In summer 2009 we made available a “DIY spending review” tool on our website to help inform interested users over possible trade-offs. Our analysis has prompted the coalition government to be more transparent about its plans. In his June 2010 Budget statement, George Osborne reported “In recent years, Chancellors have been reluctant to explain what their total spending projections will mean for Whitehall departments. This is entirely self defeating. It normally takes the Institute for Fiscal Studies less than 24 hours to work it out for themselves and let the public know the truth”. The forecasts produced by the new Office for Budget Responsibility have set out what the implications of current Government policy for spending on public services.