The British parties promise the end of austerity without clarifying funding

They take advantage of Brexit's monopoly to avoid scrutiny about the gaps in their economic plans


The omnipresence of Brexit in the British campaign has relegated the economy to a significantly lower level than it has historically enjoyed before some generals, substantially reducing the importance of the scrutiny of promises, despite the fact that the two main parties have announced the end of the era of austerity.

After a decade of adjustments, the commitment is far-reaching, but its materialization presents funding gaps that dispute its viability. Independent groups of experts, such as those of the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS), scourge of monetary awareness in the United Kingdom, have imposed a severe correction on the spending plans of the main political forces, unprecedented since the 70s of the last century and without clarifying how they will be covered.

The British parties promise the end of austerity without clarifying funding
The British parties promise the end of austerity without clarifying funding

The monopoly of the exit of the European Union on the debate, however, has prevented the analysis, despite being implacable, stating in the electorate: neither conservatives nor Labor are being “honest” with the voters and, in excess or by default, both stumble on the same stone, the lack of credibility.

Although it is too late to cause a turnaround, the diagnosis is highly harmful for formations called to dispute power. Before elections polluted by Brexit, fiscal objectivity has remained as a mere collateral victim, as evidenced by conservatives who rule out increases in income tax, contributions to Social Security, or VAT, without clarifying the consequences on public services that the Right promises to improve, without specifying how.

Already in the past, the 'tories' had anticipated more austerity and cuts that, however, resulted in an increase in public spending, which suggests that, in a context of recognized prodigality, the increase ends up being significantly higher.

Labor, on the other hand, is at the other extreme and, according to the consensus of the analysts, the 80,000 million pounds of extra annual expenditure announced in the campaign are unsustainable with mere tax increases for 5 percent of income higher and higher tax pressure for large corporations.


Although at different scales, the eternal rivals of the British political arch have certified the death of the fiscal responsibility prevailing for more than a decade and, as a consequence, this Thursday's vote will take place without the electorate knowing how their future government will materialize promises These donations, barely raising the tax burden, not at least 95 percent in the case of Labor, and ending the era of austerity.

Despite the different degrees of generosity of their bets, conservatives and Labor agree on something: their economic plans are a radical turn that replaces the attention focused on debt with a renewed conception focused on investment as a driver of dynamization and generation of growth.

Both intend to take advantage of the historical minimums in which the cost of the loan is found to open the expense tap and collect fruits that, they hope, serve to compensate for the inevitable increase in public debt. With their particularities, the two formations point to an unprecedented notion for years north of the English Channel: expand the weight of the state and consolidate a pattern guided by an ambitious investment agenda.


As a consequence, the dividing line is no longer so much between the fiscal rectitude of the conservatives and the laxity of the left, but between a recent past orchestrated around extreme caution, despite the undeniable impact on the scope and management of services public, and the establishment of a new era of state investment.

Treasury Minister Sajid Javid himself, the only one who holds the insured post before a potential re-election of Boris Johnson, had made it clear by warning that he would review the strict fiscal responsibility rules, which stipulate that the deficit should be around 2 times. cent, a dramatic break with the school of thought of its conservative predecessors in Number 11.

If the trend in the last decade went through analyzing each decision based on its effects on the budget hole, the reading of Javid and his Labor rival, John McDonnell, recognizes that the priority given in the United Kingdom to the promotion and improvement of Infrastructure has been too low for an excessively long time, a conclusion they want to resolve after these elections.

The problem is that his vision, even from the ideological antipodes that both represent, seems to ignore the reality of an economy that, although it has avoided the recession, has the lowest annual growth since March 2012 and suffers from a perpetual anemia of the productive model, which, to the stupor of economists, has failed to overcome since the 2008 crisis.


In their favor, Javid and McDonnell have that the long shadow of Brexit allows them to promise with less foundation than is necessary in an electoral process in normal times, but the extraordinary nature of the December appointment will not exempt them from accountability to a citizen who will demand the materialization of its commitments.

Ensuring large games to improve public services is always popular at the polls, but suggesting the need for more taxes to sustain them is not so much and that is where the two parties are not being honest with voters.

Conservatives do not admit that any increase in relation to the frugality of the last decade will have to be accompanied either by more debt than they are recognizing, or with a higher tax burden; and the Labor, for a similar obstacle, since its commitment to move away from the free market that has prevailed for more than 30 years – and from which the treasury has benefited strongly – will need fiscal medicine to feed the integral transformation that they advocate.

As if that were not enough, the presence of Brexit on the horizon imposes serious doubts about the evolution of the second continental power in the short and medium term, not only because of the uncertainty derived from divorce. Project investment forecasts and draw up reckless spending plans when the United Kingdom ignores what its future relationship with its reference business partner will be and even how it will affect both its international reputation and its interaction with other members of the global village .

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