Briefing Note (BN79)

The UK public finances: ready for recession?

Date: 31 October 2008
DOI: 10.1920/bn.ifs.2008.0079

As the UK economy begins to shrink for the first time in 16 years, the two main political parties have been arguing over whether the public finances are stronger or weaker now than they were at the outset of the last recession in 1990 and when Labour came to power in 1997. This note looks at a couple of key indicators of the health of the public finances in historical and international perspective to assess this.