IPPR responds to the Spring Statement
ON THE ECONOMY OVERALL
Carys Roberts, IPPR Chief Economist and head of the Centre for Economic Justice, said:
“The baby steps and half measures announced in the Spring Statement are wholly inadequate to fix the fundamental weaknesses in the UK’s economic model.
“As the IPPR Commission on Economic Justice found, we invest less in our economy than our OECD peers and have done for decades. We’ve seen the longest period of wage stagnation since the Napoleonic era and real wages are lower than they were in 2007.
“And our economy is hugely unbalanced: median incomes in the North West, North East, West Midlands, Wales and the South West are now 30 per cent lower than London and the South East.
“Today’s announcements do little to correct these long-standing weaknesses. And the Chancellor’s statement did not face up to the elephant in the Chamber, which is whether and on what terms the UK will leave the European Union. On that he has no better view and no clearer idea of the plan than the rest of us.”
ON SPENDING AND AUSTERITY
Clare McNeil, Associate Director for Work and Welfare State, said:
“The Chancellor pointed to healthy public finances with lower borrowing and debt in today's Spring Statement, but people are far from feeling this feeding through into their daily lives.
“Household debt is at a record high. The public are having to pick up the pieces from lower public spending, whether by providing more unpaid care, by having their benefits frozen while the cost of living rises, or – because of legal aid cuts – having to pay for their own defence costs.
“At the Spending Review the Chancellor has promised for later this year he faces a clear choice between continuing austerity or committing to higher spending. Unless he chooses higher spending, budgets for schools, prisons and neighbourhood services will be 1.5 per cent lower in 2023/24 than at present. We need more clarity from the government about how it plans to fund the public services we want and need.”
ON THE ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE
Luke Murphy, Associate Director for Energy and Climate at IPPR, said:
"On climate and the environment, the Chancellor claimed to have heard the voice of young people but from what was announced he's largely ignored them.
"Climate change and wider environmental breakdown are the greatest threats to the future stability of our economy and society.
"Real action would make decarbonising our economy a national mission, putting it at the centre of future investment in our economy through a Green New Deal – creating jobs and broadly-based prosperity.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
IPPR is the UK’s pre-eminent progressive think tank. With more than 40 staff in offices in London, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh, IPPR is Britain’s only national think tank with a truly national presence.