We've just finished the TPA's first Post-Budget Briefing and launch of the new book How to Cut Public Spending (and Still Win an Election) – which you can buy here. In the briefing, a series of speakers set out new analysis of the fiscal situation and the contents of the Budget.
The Powerpoint presentation can be downloaded here. It was intended for use at the event, for a more detailed explanation of any item or to arrange interviews please contact the TPA on 0845 330 9554 or, for urgent or out of hours press inquiries, 07795 084 113; all of the speakers are willing to discuss their findings with the media.
Ruth Lea, leading economic commentator and Economic Advisor to Arbuthnot Bank, gave the big picture. She set out the scale of expected borrowing and how optimistic growth projections could mean the picture was even worse than we thought. For more detail on Ruth's thinking around the Budget see her blog for the TPA yesterday.
Mike Denham, former Treasury and City Economist and TPA Research Fellow, looked at the extent to which changes in the rate the Government needs to pay to service its debt could mean exploding debt interest costs. He presented a new analysis showing the extent to which debt interest payments are already outstripping spending on public order and safety and could even be greater than the entire education budget. After that, he looked at public sector pay, showing that median pay in most of the big public sector professions has far outstripped median pay and that senior public sector workers are well within the top ten percent of earners.
Corin Taylor, Senior Policy Advisor at the Institute of Directors, discussed how the challenge of dealing with the deficit is going to be compounded by other pressures such as rising pension costs and the need for investment in infrastructure. He also welcomed some measures such as the temporary reduction in Business Rates.
Julian Morris, Executive Director at the International Policy Network, looked at the new Green Investment Bank. He set out how past experience with government investment funds suggests that they often destroy huge amounts of capital. He also argued that the merits of the scheme in creating jobs are seriously overrated.
John O'Connell, TPA Policy Analyst, presented new analysis showing that over the last decade a significant burden has been imposed by fiscal drag as income tax thresholds have failed to keep pace with rises in average earnings.
Jennifer Dunn, TPA Policy Analyst, provided new figures for the growth of sin taxes over the last decade. It showed the massive rise in the burden on an ordinary smoker who drives and drinks moderately. She also explored how the changes in Vehicle Excise Duty will mean a big tax hike for family cars and hit the home market for British manufacturers.
William Norton, experienced City solicitor and former member of the James Review staff, presented a detailed, new analysis of the Operational Efficiencies Programme. He set out how most of the cuts haven't been explained in detailed yet and how large portions of the cuts are going to be in the NHS and education.
Matthew Sinclair, TPA Research Director, looked at the inadequacy of the Government's supposed "deficit reduction plan", building on the analysis he wrote about for the Spectator Coffee House yesterday evening. He then gave a briefing on the issues explored in the new book How to Cut Public Spending (and Still Win an Election).
All of the speeches from the event are now available on our YouTube channel.