Magazine article Public Finance

Numbers Game

Magazine article Public Finance

Numbers Game

Article excerpt

With the economy starting to show positive signs of growth, Chancellor George Osborne can contemplate the 2013 Autumn Statement with slightly more optimism than in previous years.

Growth reached the heady level of 0.8% in the third quarter of 2013, unemployment registered a three-year low in the three months to September and the Consumer Prices Index approached the government's 2% target in October.

But the public sector shouldn't rush to get out the bunting. The Autumn Statement, on December 5, is expected to offer more grim news for those working in our town halls, hospitals, schools and central government offices.

Osborne has already asserted that restoring the public finances back to health is a '10-year project' and that his aim is to move into surplus by the end of the next parliament.

This will have inevitable consequences for public spending, given the coalition's reluctance to increase taxes. …

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