'Darling must find an extra £2,400 per family'

Chancellor Alistair Darling will have to find an extra £76 billion, or £2,400 per family, to restore the public finances over two Parliaments of pain, experts warned today.

The influential Institute for Fiscal Studies' (IFS) analysis of the pre-Budget report said one third of the sum would be clawed back through tax rises and two thirds through spending cuts by 2017/18.

The IFS also warned that debt levels could remain high "for a generation" - at around 60 per cent of national output - without policies to tackle the impact of the ageing population on the UK's public finances.

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