Taxes are going to rise to their highest level for at least 40 years, but there will still not be much more money for public services. So what should we make of this?
The Institute for Fiscal Studies produces a “green Budget” report just before the official Budget, which this year comes on 27 October. It is a cool, dispassionate, apolitical assessment of the choices before the UK government, and this time it makes troubling reading.
The headline is, “Despite planning biggest tax rises for more than 25 years, and an historic increase in the size of the state, the chancellor is still likely to have little money for hard-pressed public services”. The detail is, if anything, even more glum. The highest sustained level of taxation in peacetime. Spending at the highest level in “normal times” since 1985. And to balance the budget (or at least to cut the deficit to a sustainable level) Rishi Sunak may not only have to increase some spending by less than projected, but may actually have to cut some programmes.
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