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IEA Director General responds to Jeremy Hunt’s autumn statement

Mark Littlewood, Director General at free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, responded to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement

“The Chancellor has put the United Kingdom firmly on track for higher taxes, more spending, and lower growth. This is a recipe for managed decline, not a plan for prosperity.

“Jeremy Hunt is right to emphasise the need to bring down our debt burden and slow down the growth in government spending. But the consequence of considerable tax hikes could be a deeper and longer economic downturn – ultimately resulting in less taxpayer revenue over the long-term. The Chancellor has chosen to protect pensioners and those on welfare, but ordinary workers have been clobbered.

“The growth strategy is all top-down. What we need is bottom up, supply side reforms. Planning liberalisation has been largely shelved, retained EU red tape will remain in place for longer and plans to increase domestic energy supply through shale gas – when the country faces crippling energy costs – have gone. Instead, we will levy extortionate taxes on the North Sea and electricity generation, which will discourage investment and make us more reliant on imported energy and more at risk of blackouts.

“Without more vigorously addressing the woeful lack of growth, the Chancellor is failing to deal with the key structural weaknesses in the UK economy – and we will continue to pay the price.”

Notes to editors

Contact: / 07763 365520

IEA spokespeople are available for comment and interview

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems. The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties.

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