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Home Publications Public spending under Labour

Public spending under Labour

Robert Chote, Rowena Crawford, Carl Emmerson and Gemma Tetlow
Briefing note

Even more than in previous elections, the appropriate size of the state − measured by public spending as a share of national income − is a key issue. This briefing note describes the trends in public spending since Labour came to office in 1997. Section 2 compares the levels of public spending under Labour to date with historical levels and spending in other OECD countries. Section 3 compares the growth in the main components of public spending seen under Labour, both before and after the start of the financial crisis, with growth seen under previous governments. Section 4 considers productivity in public service provision, and how the increased spending under the Labour government compares with changes in measured output.