£3,000 worse off: IFS casts further doubt on the figures

Published: 30th Mar 2015

We've already covered the many assumptions the Conservatives made when they claimed that "working households" would be £3,000 worse off under a Labour government.

Both Labour and the Conservatives have signed up to reduce the deficit, but predicting how this might happen isn't easy.

The Conservatives' claim started with the assumption of £30 billion required to reduce the deficit.

But the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has said today that this figure should be much lower, even with the Conservatives' assumptions. They pointed out that:

  • Under current projections, the government will have exceeded their target and reached a surplus of £16 billion in 2017-18. This means the £30 billion per year figure given by the Chancellor would be more than necessary to eliminate the deficit.
  • Oddly, the parties have agreed to a moving target which always looks three years ahead of today — next financial year the target will apply to 2017-18, the year after that it will apply to 2018-19. So Labour will have longer to "balance the books" than the Conservatives give them credit for.

We agree with IFS:

"There is little value in bandying around numbers which suggest either party would increases taxes by an average of £3,000 for each working household. We don't know what they will do after the election." - IFS, 30 March 2015

Neither the Conservatives nor Labour have been fully clear about their own plans for spending and taxation. Our own projection is for further confusion until the parties publish more detailed plans.

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