General Election 2015: The unanswered questions on tax and spending

The answers you need to know in the run up to the election

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Indy Politics

Today the general election campaigning began in earnest. Here are the unanswered questions still faced by the two major parties with just 38 days to go to the polls

CONSERVATIVES

Q: Where would their £12bn of welfare cuts be made?

A:  They won’t say – until after the election. So far, they have identified only £3.2bn –by freezing most working age benefits for two years from April 2016. 

Q: Would the Tories raise taxes?

A: They say not, promising to balance the books through cuts and reducing tax avoidance.  But many independent analysts believe they would increase taxes

Q: How would the Tories deliver their promised £7.2bn of tax cuts by 2020?

A: By running a budget surplus, although that has been reduced in size to end austerity a year earlier than planned.

LABOUR

Q: When would Labour balance the books?

A: “As soon as possible” before 2020, less specific than the Tories’ 2017-18 target.   Labour’s pledge relates only to day-to-day spending on public services, and could leave it up to £30bn of headroom to spend on building projects funded by borrowing

Q: How deep would Labour cut?

A: We don’t know. The independent Institute for Fiscal Studies says Labour has left itself the flexibility to have no real terms spending cuts apart from those planned by the Coalition in 2015-16.  If Labour aimed to get day-to-day spending in balance by 2018-19, that would mean £6bn of  cuts (or tax rises).

Q: What spending cuts has Labour identified?

A: The party’s zero-based spending review has identified savings of more than £1bn in government departments – a small amount when the deficit is about £90bn.

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