Why we need to prepare for a new age of austerity

The public finances have formed the basis for one of the biggest stories of the past 10 years. Budget pressures, cuts, and the ongoing efforts of policy-makers to put things back on an even keel after the impact of the financial crisis have been to the fore of the policy, media and public agenda. But in many respects, this narrative of ‘clearing up the mess’ has masked a more fundamental challenge emerging underneath. Some people may be expecting the public finances to ‘return to normal’ in the years to come, but the facts in relation to our ageing population tell us that ‘normal’ will be a very different thing from the past.

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Chancellor performs fiscal escapology but austerity isn’t over yet

Image of UK Sterling coins and notes

**The Autumn Statement and Spending Review as it happened, on our live blog.**

The Chancellor has developed something of a reputation for over-promising and under-delivering when it comes to fiscal austerity. He certainly didn’t shed this image today in the first all-Conservative Spending Review since the mid-1990s.

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An action-packed and politically charged budget

Economy photoDownload an extended note on the Budget here.

The 2015 general election was a speed camera for austerity, or so we thought. Given the content of the Budget back in March, the chancellor had been expected to put his foot down on the austerity accelerator. Instead, however, he is set to keep the austerity drive in cruise control, with the pace to remain steady.

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Welfare or well unfair?

Gross Disposable Household Income

2014 saw Northern Ireland’s so-called ‘spreadsheet recovery’ broaden out into a more tangible household recovery, with the return of low inflation alongside modest wage growth leading to a recovery in disposable household incomes.  A slowdown in the pace of austerity has also helped, and, in turn, households have begun to repair their battered household finances.

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