Budget delivers ‘small steps’ towards growth but falls short of ‘giant leap’ needed, says IPPR
IPPR researchers have reacted to measures announced in today’s Budget statement by Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor of the exchequer.
Dr George Dibb, head of the Centre for Economic Justice at IPPR, said:
“Today’s budget contained small steps towards growth but fell short of the giant leap needed for serious, long-term progress. The minimum this budget had to do was put in place policies so the UK can compete with the US and EU in developing the green industries of the future, and it fell short of the ambition needed.
“There were welcome announcements today helping people back into work, some reforms to social security, and supporting parents with childcare which will help economic performance, but UK investment is back below the G7 average and on the biggest global economic and environmental issues this budget has come up short.”
On childcare and the labour force, Rachel Statham, IPPR associate director for work and the welfare state, said:
“Today’s ‘back to work budget’ signalled a positive step change in the government’s childcare offer, recognising that a lack of affordable care is holding families and our economy back. But with England’s childcare sector already at breaking point, we need wholesale reform to deliver affordable, available, high-quality care to families everywhere. For now, significant questions on funding, quality and supply of places remain unanswered.
“On social security, the government has committed to supporting disabled people and those with chronic health conditions back into work, and to meeting childcare costs up front. But a more punitive sanctions regime risks pushing some of the same people into debt and destitution, and missing the opportunity to support more people into jobs they can thrive in.”
On net zero and nature, Luke Murphy, IPPR associate director for energy and climate, said:
“The extension of the energy price freeze will bring welcome relief to families across the country. But today’s budget failed to provide enough substance to deliver the medium to long-term solution to high energy bills – an accelerated rollout of renewables, energy efficiency, and clean heat.
“The announcement on industrial carbon capture and storage is welcome, though we await the detail. But the government has been warned repeatedly of the risks of failing to meet its climate targets or to reap the benefits of delivering net zero, including by its own advisers. There is a global race to the top in reaching net zero, and the UK now risks falling seriously behind our competitors.
“The government needs to learn the lessons from the US and Europe, ramp up public investment and bring forward a green industrial strategy, safeguarding our economy and environment for the future.”
On health, Chris Thomas, head of the commission on health and prosperity, said:
“Compared to other countries, people in the UK are more likely to die before their time or fall sick earlier than necessary. This has a substantial knock-on consequence on our economy – as shown by the record number of people out of work because of long-term sickness in the UK today.
“It’s therefore positive that the Chancellor has recognised that better health is economic common sense in today’s budget. More support for people with long-term conditions seeking work; greater efforts to prevent people who fall ill being forced to leave work; and an increase in occupational health are all welcome measures.
“However, the UK is getting sicker year on year and there’s far too little in this budget to stem that rising tide. There are no answers to the NHS’ collapse; nothing tangible for adult social care; and nothing on how we can use prevention to deliver healthier lives. So it’s critical that this budget is the first step, not the final word, in building better health and great prosperity across the whole of the UK”.
Dr George Dibb, Rachel Statham and Luke Murphy are available for interview
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NOTES TO EDITORS
IPPR has published a number of recent papers and reports on issues relevant to today’s Budget.
- On the urgent need for the government to invest and use industrial strategy along similar lines to the US Inflation Reduction Act, or risk the UK falling behind in the global green race:
- On the economic and family income case for a universal guarantee of affordable childcare: https://www.ippr.org/research/publications/delivering-a-childcare-guarantee
- On why, based on recent UK experience, there is no evidence that a lower rate of corporation tax stimulated more business investment:
- On how poor health is undermining the labour market and damaging economic recovery, with mental health a major factor in forcing people out of the workforce:
- On why the government had significantly more “fiscal headroom” than it previously claimed, affording it greater scope to invest in measures to generate long-term growth, including public services and infrastructure:
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