February 5, 2014 / 10:04 AM / 5 years ago

UK government less than halfway through spending cuts - IFS

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne stands outside 11 Downing Street in London February 4, 2014. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

Britain’s Conservative-led government is less than halfway through a programme of public spending cuts that started when it came to power in 2010, a leading non-partisan think tank said on Wednesday.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies said Chancellor George Osborne’s recent decision to target a budget surplus by the 2018-19 tax year, to be achieved by spending cuts rather than tax rises, meant 60 percent of cuts in public spending are still to come.

“Even with 12 billion pounds a year of additional cuts to social security spending, Mr Osborne’s plans would imply cuts of more than 30 percent in ‘unprotected’ public service budgets since 2010,” the IFS said.

The government pledged in 2010 not to cut spending on health and schools in real terms, and to increase overseas aid, as well as to achieve a surplus on non-investment spending within five years - a goal that has been missed.

The IFS said that due to a rising population, public spending per head would fall by 2.4 percent a year between 2010 and 2018.

Reporting by David Milliken, editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa

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