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Abstract:

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CEP Election Analysis
Austerity: Growth Costs and Post-Election Plans
John Van Reenen
March 2015
Paper No' CEPEA020:
Full Paper (pdf) | View Video (pdf)

Tags: uk general election 2015; government policy; austerity; growth; productivity; taxation

The austerity programme of the coalition government knocked at least one percent per year off growth in the first two years of this Parliament. In retrospect, this looks like a mistake and the slower pace of austerity in 2012 to 2013 and thereafter was welcome (as was the setting up of the Office for Budget Responsibility). The plans in the 2014 Autumn Statement are to accelerate the cuts in spending on public services over the next five years, until it reaches the lowest level since at least 1948. Other parties also plan big reductions although at a much slower pace and tempered by tax rises. In reality, it is likely that whoever wins the next election will increase taxes more than has been advertised - just as has happened after every election since 1992.