Autumn Statement

As Chris Giles explains, the fiscal importance of the policies is dwarfed by the shortfall in tax receipts – at the macro level, today’s announcements changed very little. However, there were several new schemes, which begs the question: how will they be paid for? The answer: with help from HMRC. When it comes to filling holes in the budget, cutting down on tax avoidance is the new efficiency savings. 

These charts show public sector net borrowing excluding the accounting treatments of Royal Mail and asset purchase transfers. Revised growth forecasts mean that the deficit is projected to fall sooner than previously expected – and there might be a surplus in 2019.

These changes provided the backdrop George Osborne’s Autumn Statement, a confident defence of his economic strategy in the past, present and – crucially – future. The latter included arguably the most clear-eyed articulation of supply-side reforms in recent memory. But the frame was the improvements in the economy relative to March. In this sense, seven months have made a huge difference.  

When the first state pension was paid in 1909, male average life expectancy at birth was about 50 years. Today it is about 80 years. Back then, there were about 100 centenarians. Today, there are about 10,000.