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The Institute for Fiscal Studies has attacked the spending plans of the UK’s two main parties, saying neither election manifesto “is a properly credible prospectus”.

Paul Johnson, the director of the respected thinktank, noted that the Conservatives’ election manifesto in 2017 pledged more austerity and spending cuts, but in reality public service spending has gone up, and is due to be around £27bn higher next year than implied by the manifesto. In fact, he said, it is closer to the 2017 Labour pledge than the Tories’ own manifesto.

This time, the Conservatives are not promising any more spending cuts but are not predicting any spending increases beyond those set out in September either. Their plans would leave public service spending excluding health still 14% lower in 2023-24 than it was in 2010-11. “No more austerity perhaps, but an awful lot of it baked in,” Johnson said.

The Conservatives have pencilled in few tax changes beyond a small cut in national insurance contributions.

“If you think things are pretty much OK as they are, then you will like the Conservatives proposals for tax and spend. If you want big increases in taxation and spending then Labour and the Liberal Democrats have plenty to offer,” Johnson said. Read more

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