Inst of Fiscal Studies voices concerns in reaction to Kwarteng’s emergency budget

by | Sep 26, 2022

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Following Chancellor Kwarteng’s statement on tax policy and growth on Friday, the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) has delivered a hard hitting reaction to the announcements made as follows:

Paul Johnson, IFS Director, said: 

“The Chancellor announced the biggest package of tax cuts in 50 years without even a semblance of an effort to make the public finance numbers add up. Instead, the plan seems to be to borrow large sums at increasingly expensive rates, put government debt on an unsustainable rising path, and hope that we get better growth. This marks such a dramatic change in the direction of economic policy-making that some of the longer-serving cabinet ministers might be worried about getting whiplash.

“Mr Kwarteng has shown himself willing to gamble with fiscal sustainability in order to push through these huge tax cuts. He is willing to shrug off the risks of inflation, and to invite significantly higher interest rates. And he has avoided scrutiny by presenting a Budget in all but name without accompanying forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility.

“Injecting demand into this high-inflation economy leaves the government pulling in the exact opposite direction to the Bank of England, who are likely to raise rates in response. Early signs are that the markets – who will have to lend the money required to plug the gap in the government’s fiscal plans – aren’t impressed. This is worrying. Government borrowing is set on an upward path. It will reach its third-highest peak since the war, and remain at well over £100 billion, even once the energy support package is withdrawn.

“And we heard nothing on public spending. It seems almost inconceivable that plans made last year, when inflation was expected to peak around 3%, will not need topping up at some point, unless the government is willing to allow a (further) deterioration in the range and quality of public services. Presumably this government would borrow for that also. 

“Mr Kwarteng is not just gambling on a new strategy, he is betting the house.”

To read the full statement from the IFS CLICK HERE 

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