Budget

Spending Review 2004

Date: 12 July 2004

Briefing and analysis

The 2004 Spending Review took place on Monday 12th July.

IFS has put together a briefing note, which considers the options for public spending during the years of the forthcoming Spending Review 2004 (2005-06 to 2007-08), in light of what has already been announced and what we know about the government's priorities and past spending decisions. Robert Chote, Director of the IFS, also addresses these issues in a recent article (July 2004) for BBC Online. Another article, written by Christine Frayne and Sarah Love (IFS), and a feature entitled 'Analysis - No pain, no efficiency gain', by Carl Emmerson and Sarah Love (IFS), can be found in Public Finance Magazine.

IFS held a briefing at our offices in Ridgmount Street on Tuesday 13th July.

Useful publications

Public finances

Since October 2002 IFS has produced monthly bulletins analysing the government's public finance figures. A recent briefing note (February 2004) analyses the Conservative Party's preliminary public spending proposals.

Education funding

A briefing note, An analysis of the higher education reforms (Briefing Note 45, January 2004) describes the evolution of proposed reforms to Higher Education funding in 2003. This briefing note assesses the impact that educational reform may have on students from different family income backgrounds and the level of debt they may need to incur to go to higher education. The way in which graduates may be affected by these debt repayments throughout their working lives is also addressed.

Poverty and inequality

One of the central aims of Government policy is to reduce child poverty, but what exactly the Government means by its long-stated ambition to halve child poverty by 2010 as it moves towards eliminating it entirely by 2020 has not yet been clearly defined. Nor have any specific targets for reducing pensioner poverty been set.

As part of the Spending Review, the Government set out updated Public Service Agreement targets for Government departments, and may announced new poverty targets. A recent Commentary (March 2004) discusses what these targets could look like.

Green Budget 2004

The IFS Green Budget 2004. Given the doubts about the health of the public finances, is Gordon Brown in danger of breaking his fiscal rules? Are further tax increases required to pay for the Government's spending commitments?

The IFS Green Budget assessed key questions that the Chancellor has to confront in drawing up his 2004 Budget statement.

Fiscal facts

New briefing notes include A survey of public spending in the UK (Briefing Note 43, December 2003), which provides an overview of public spending in the UK describing components of public spending and examining trends in expenditure.

A survey of the UK tax system (Briefing Note 9, updated November 2003) and A survey of the UK benefit system (Briefing Note 13, updated November 2003) include changes implemented after the 2003 Budget. Another briefing note, The government's fiscal rules, describes the government's two fiscal rules and discusses the uncertainty inherent in forecasting the public finances.