Spending promises ignore the state’s changing nature

By Michael Burton | 06 November 2019
  • Michael Burton

This is a General Election in which for the first time in 14 years both the main political parties are trying to outdo each other in pledges for more public spending. On the surface according to a Resolution Foundation study this week which calls the election ‘an arm’s race on spending’, even the Tories’ ambitious promises take us back to a level of public spending as a percentage of GDP not seen since the mid-1980s (ironically during the Thatcher period but spending was swollen by benefit costs).

Labour’s plans go back to the levels of 1982-83 and would be the ninth highest spending total in the entire post-1945 period. In both cases however the Foundation estimates public spending levels could go back to the 1970s.

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