Austerity stripped bare

The tightened belt is still in fashion but it’s a style that is transparently thin says Geoff Tily.

For years the logic of austerity has governed UK economic policy. In his March 2018 Spring Statement, the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, finally celebrated a “balanced budget”. But rather than vindicating the logic of austerity, his claims expose austerity as an emperor with no clothes.

The Chancellor has not been given an easy rise by commentators and economists, but the false logic of austerity continues to diminish any criticism. The most prominent critics in the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) savage the government for the poor performance of the economy and hardships to come, but their ire is focused on what they see as phoney promises of politicians of all parties. Even the radical Modern Monetary Theorists (MMTs) simply want to throw away the rulebook of the austerity empire.

The Chancellor has not been given an easy rise by commentators and economists, but the false logic of austerity continues to diminish any criticism.

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Geoff Tily

Senior Economist, Economics and Social Affairs Department, TUC. Geoff Tily has been the TUC’s senior economist since 2014, following 25 years in the government’s economics and statistical services (including HM Treasury …

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