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
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.
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.Reuse content