Labour have got a fairer way to balance the books than Tories – my response to the IFS briefing on the Autumn Statement

The continuing squeeze on living standards is the reason why George Osborne has failed to get the revenues in to balance the books.

As the IFS says tax receipts have been revised down by £25 billion by 2018/19, largely because of weak wage growth. This is why the public finances are even more challenging in the next Parliament and now George Osborne has chosen to pencil in even deeper cuts. He also wants us to believe he can find £7 billion a year to pay for his unfunded fantasy tax promises. No wonder everyone is now saying the Chancellor’s sums don’t add up.

Labour will take a balanced approach to getting the deficit down. There will need to be spending cuts, but we will make different choices and our plan will deliver the rising living standards and more good jobs we need to get the deficit down.

We will get the current budget into surplus and the national debt falling as soon as possible in the next Parliament. That will mean difficult decisions on spending, like cutting the winter fuel allowance for the richest five per cent of pensioners and capping child benefit rises at one per cent for two years. Our Zero-Based Review will continue to examine every pound spent by government to root out waste and find savings.

But Labour will make different and fairer choices, starting by reversing this government’s £3 billion a year tax cut for people earning over £150,000. We will have a mansion tax to help save and transform our NHS and scrap elected police commissioners to help protect frontline policing.

And most importantly we will change our economy so we can deliver the rising living standards we need to get the revenues in to get the deficit down. Our plan will raise the minimum wage, get more homes built, cut business rates for small firms and raise the bank levy to expand free childcare for working parents.

This is the balanced approach we need if we are to get the deficit down and do so fairly. And unlike George Osborne we will not make any promises without saying where the money is coming from.


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Posted December 4th, 2014 by Ed

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