A Plague On Both Your Houses

Dr. Mike Campbell

UKThe UK is inside the last two weeks of what many are calling a Brexit election. As a consequence, all of the major parties have launched their election manifestoes, laying out the “promises” they hope to attract voters with. Traditionally, these documents underplay tax consequences and overstate the aspirational policies which, they hope will get them into power.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) was established in 1969 and is independent of government or political parties. IFS seeks to inform public debate on UK economic matters leading, it hopes, to the development of effective fiscal policy which would then be implemented by political parties once they gain power. It has gained respect over the years for its economic analysis.

IFS has analysed the manifesto revenue raising and spending policies identified by the major parties in their 2019 manifestoes. It concludes that nether the opposition Labour Party nor the ruling Conservative Party are offering “credible” plans in these documents.

IFS suggests that the lavish spending pledges by the Labour Party are unlikely to be delivered if funded by increased taxation of “big companies and the rich; the top 5% of earners in the UK. The Labour definition of “rich” in this context is anybody earning above £80000 per annum. Labour has made much of the idea that its spending plans could be realised without increasing the tax burden on 95% of the electorate. The spending plans would cost an estimated £80 billion a year. IFS’s Paul Johnson concludes: "In reality, a change in the scale and the scope of the state that they propose would require more broad-based tax increases at some point."

Turning to Conservative promises, IFS concludes that it is “highly likely” that they would exceed the spending levels indicated in their manifesto. Mr Johnson said that the Conservatives continued to "pretend that tax rises will never be needed to secure decent public services". The Conservative manifesto had "failed to come up with any kind of plan or any kind of money" for social care services, a major current concern for the nation. He described the Conservative pledge not to raise income tax, national insurance or VAT over the life of the next parliament as “ill advised” and concluded that neither party was being honest with the public.

About the Author
Dr. Mike Campbell
Dr. Mike Campbell is a British scientist and freelance writer. Mike got his doctorate in Ghent, Belgium and has worked in Belgium, France, Monaco and Austria since leaving the UK. As a writer, he specialises in business, science, medicine and environmental subjects.
Comments

Did you like what you read? Let us know what you think!

exclamation mark

Please make sure your comments are appropriate and that they do not promote services or products, political parties, campaign material or ballot propositions. Comments that contain abusive, vulgar, offensive, threatening or harassing language, or personal attacks of any kind will be deleted. Comments including inappropriate will also be removed.

0 User comments
Add Comment

exclamation mark

Please make sure your comments are appropriate and that they do not promote services or products, political parties, campaign material or ballot propositions. Comments that contain abusive, vulgar, offensive, threatening or harassing language, or personal attacks of any kind will be deleted. Comments including inappropriate will also be removed.

Read more
Add new comment
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.