30 Sep 2009

Counting the cost of Brown’s spending promises

The IFS has helped me out with a bit of rough, heavily caveated number-crunching based on what Gordon Brown said yesterday about cuts.

Yes, he didn’t say much, but he did say he wanted to protect rises in the minimum wage, rises in child tax credits, hospitals, schools and police numbers. And he said he would get the international aid budget to the target of 0.7 per cent of GDP.

Just factor in a few of those commitments – freezing the schools and NHS budgets (the closest we can get to¬† a “hospitals” budget), growing the aid budget – and other budgets would have to be squeezed by something like 6 per cent a year or nearly 18 per cent over three years.

That excludes the cost of freezing the credits, the cost of the minimum wage and freezing the police budget. So it is a bit rough and ready and, of course, Gordon Brown didn’t give concrete commitments yesterday.

But it gives you an idea of the pain that is squeezed elsewhere even when you so much as freeze one part of spending.

Related: Did Brown’s speech make a big enough bang?
Spending promises from Brown

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