Think Tanks

Institute for Fiscal Studies

24 May 2010 17:30:59

Think tanks give generally positive verdict on the Coalition's first cuts

The Institute for Fiscal Studies notes that today's cuts are "less than a tenth of the fiscal repair job" that Alistair Darling said was going to be necessary.

Andrew Lilico, Chief Economist of Policy Exchange identifies the Departments which have suffered the largest cuts:

[Today's cuts as a percentage of today's budgets | The extent to which today's cut reverses the rise in departmental spending in the last parliament]

  • CLG communities: 7.3% | 75%
  • Transport: 5% | 65%
  • Work and Pensions: 5.4% | 90%
  • Home Office: 3.5% | 73%
  • Ministry of Justice 3.4% | 44%

Matthew Elliott of the TaxPayers' Alliance welcomed the cuts:

"Taxpayers have suffered the pain of a recession and rising taxes, and they will welcome the news that a Government is finally making the public sector share the burden. This must only be the beginning - we need to see tens of billions of pounds of cuts in the Emergency Budget in June to start to make an impact on the country's vast deficit. It was refreshing to hear the Chancellor talking about scrapping waste and closing down quangos. At last it seems Westminster is starting to wake up and do the things we have long called for."

From the Institute of Economic Affairs, Mark Littlewood saw strengths and weaknesses in today's announcements:

“Rightly a high proportion of these initial cuts will be borne by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. The flawed industrial activism policy pursued up to now must be abandoned. A strategy based on government deciding which ideas are likely to be commercially successfully is bound to fail. It is therefore of concern that some of the future spending plans look set to ignore this fact. There are other areas of cuts that are misguided in their approach. Reducing the number of civil servants by not replacing those who resign is an imprudent measure. Staffing the civil service as efficiently as possible requires strategic placement of staff, not an ad hoc plan.”

Patrick Nolan of Reform, said it was not "credible" for George Osborne to protect health and welfare budgets AND bring borrowing down to sustainable levels.

ConservativeHome's report on the cuts is here.