Chancellor 'gambled with public finances' in Budget, states IFS

31 Oct 2018

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has suggested that Chancellor Philip Hammond 'gambled' with public finances in the 2018 Autumn Budget.

In its Budget analysis, the IFS stated that, whilst forecasts prepared for the Budget by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) gave the Chancellor room for manoeuvre, public finance forecasts could 'deteriorate significantly' next year, leaving the government in a tricky position.

The Institute also warned that UK public services are 'going to feel squeezed for some time to come', and that cuts are 'not about to be reversed'.

In regard to austerity, the IFS stated that we will 'only really know' when it is over when we have 'firmer plans'.

Commenting on the Budget, Paul Johnson, Director of the IFS, said: 'Mr Hammond will be thanking his lucky stars for the OBR. After all, who would have believed a Treasury forecast which just happened to allow more than £20 billion of additional spending on the NHS without either any tax increases or any effect on forecast borrowing?

'And that really is the story of . . . [the] Budget. Lots of extra money for the NHS 'paid for' by better borrowing forecasts.'

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