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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Liberal Democrats are most transparent but all parties can do better

The uncertainties of fighting an election in a period of austerity were brought home to roost today when the Institute of Fiscal Studies published its assessment of the manifestos for each party.

The problem is of course is how do politicians offer enticements to voters to cast their ballot the 'right way' whilst at the same time facing up to the reality of more years of cuts and fiscal retrenchment?

According to the BBC the IFS have concluded that four of the major parties have not provided "anything like full details" on plans to cut the deficit.

However, they added that the Liberal Democrats have been more transparent about overall plans to 2017-18, saying that we are aiming for tightening spending more than Labour but less than the Conservatives.

They add that Conservative plans for the next Parliament involve "a significantly larger reduction in borrowing and debt than those put forward by Labour, but that is based on "substantial and almost entirely unspecified spending cuts and tax increases".

As for Labour, the IFS believe that they have been "considerably more vague" about how much it wants to borrow.

The really interesting finding though is about the SNP, whose figures the IFS say, imply the same reduction in borrowing as Labour, but the reduction will be slower.

They conclude that this means that the SNP is proposing a slower but longer period of austerity. That is completely contrary to the SNP's anti-austerity rhetoric.

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