The Spending Review was a "big missed opportunity"

November 25, 2015 3:08 PM

Reacting to the Autumn Statement and Spending Review, Jonathan Isaby, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:

"When public spending is going up year after year, how can anyone describe that as austerity? It's good news that the Chancellor intends to run a surplus by the end of the parliament. However, the Spending Review was a big missed opportunity to not only reduce spending, but to re-think the role of government by scrapping unnecessary departments and functions altogether. As well as significant u-turns on tax credits and reductions to the policing budget the Spending Review seemed to offer extra spending for areas like sports, the arts and foreign aid, so it is hard to see where the Chancellor aims to make the big savings needed to ease the burden on taxpayers.

"What's more, fiddly interventions to the housing market and a new payroll tax mean that Whitehall's tentacles will continue to stretch far and wide, despite spending coming down as a proportion of national income. Getting spending under control should be part of a vision of cutting taxes for families across Britain, reducing debt for future generations and boosting economic growth."

Addressing some of the specific measures announced by George Osborne, Jonathan Isaby, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:

Tax announcements:

"There's no doubt that this statement saw some hefty tax hikes, particularly on company payrolls which will be paid for in lower wages for employees, lower returns for shareholders, or higher prices for consumers. The figures also revealed a big increase in Council Tax revenue and a new punitive rate of Stamp Duty. The best way to reduce the deficit while ensuring the economy can grow is to get spending under control, not dig even deeper into taxpayers' pockets."

Housing announcements:

"With the housing crisis worsening, taxpayers and home buyers need meaningful reform of planning restrictions on building heights and the green belt, not a pumped up London Help to Buy subsidy and a spending splurge on the housing budget."

Stamp Duty increases:

"Stamp Duty is a disastrous tax that gums up the housing market, and gets in the way of people who need to move home to somewhere more suitable. The Chancellor should have abolished it, not made it more fiddly and punitive."

Ring-fencing certain areas of spending:

"Arbitrary minimum spending targets for foreign aid, health and education distort decision-making and encourage waste and inefficiency, especially when the aim should be to bring down overall spending. They have made the Chancellor's job all the more difficult and they should be swiftly removed."

Pensions triple lock:

"Taxpayers cannot afford the unsustainable triple lock on the state pension. No area of government spending should be exempt from savings, least of all unaffordable increases for people in the wealthiest and least deprived age group."

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