What Austerity? Public Spending Down Just 0.2% Since 2009

There’s a renewed focus on the politics of ‘austerity’ in the wake of the election, with some senior Tories using the result to proclaim “austerity is over” and endorse even more borrowing, taxes and spending. This fiscal truth bullet is much needed: research from the TaxPayers’ Alliance shows that public spending is just 0.2% lower than in 2009-10. When you look at the actual numbers for 2016-17, it is clear ‘austerity’ never really happened…

  • In 2016-17 public spending was a mere £1.3 billion lower than it was in 2009-10.
  • Day-to-day public spending was £14.3 billion higher than it was in 2009-10. This is an increase of 2.1 per cent.
  • Per household, public spending was £1,121 higher than it was in 2007-08: £28,529
  • Spending on welfare for pensioners was 12.1 per cent higher than it was in 2009-10.
  • In 2010-11 and 2015-16 there were real-terms budget increases for international development and health.

Some departments have faced more efficiencies than others, but overall the level of public spending has barely been touched since 2009. A reminder to the Gavin Barwells of the government not to take leave of their senses and embrace Labour’s fantasy economics – they will always be able to promise more free stuff…




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Quote of the Day

John Curtice on fiscal policy:

“Attitudes to taxation and spending are basically counter-cyclical. If a government comes in and tries to reduce spending and taxation, after a while people will get worried about the state of public services. If a government increases taxation and public spending, after a while they’ll get concerned about increasing taxation…. In as much as there are lots of ideologues out there who think the state should be this proportion of GDP, they’re all wrong. Because the public’s view is counter-cyclical to the recent experience. It’s basically impossible to satisfy the public.”

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