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Public spending and finance

We conduct ongoing analysis of the outturns of, and outlook for, the public finances. Our work in this area assesses the records of successive governments, and looks at forecasts for government revenues and spending (overall and in specific areas), with the aim of informing the public debate.

We conduct timely analysis of issues related to budgets, spending reviews, and elections. Our website provides data and useful background information on historic trends and recent issues relating to public spending and the public finances.

IFS research also examines topics related to the public finances in more depth. For example, recent papers have reflected on the Brexit vote, considered the fiscal challenges and opportunities for an independent Scotland, and explored international comparisons of the public finances in the Great Recession.

Selected highlights

The IFS Green Budget 2019, in association with Citi and the Nuffield Foundation, is edited by Carl Emmerson, Christine Farquharson and Paul Johnson, and copy-edited by Judith Payne. The report looks at the issues and challenges facing Chancellor Sajid Javid as he prepares for his first Budget.
Briefing note
This Wednesday the Chancellor will allocate funding to departments for the next financial year, 2020-2021. This departmental spending (DEL) is £375 billion this year.
In this observation IFS researchers analyse how much it would really cost to write-off student debt.
Past event
IFS researchers presented their analysis of the main party manifestos at a press briefing event on Friday 26 May (postponed from the original date of Tuesday 23 May due to events in Manchester).
Video clip
What's been happening to tax, spending and the public finances? These short explainer videos have been made to provide context to the 2017 Spring Budget.
This report examines both the direct and indirect effects of Brexit on the UK’s public finances, based on a comprehensive review of studies analysing the short- and long- term economic effects of Brexit.


Contact IFS on 020 7291 4800 or [email protected]

David Phillips
Associate Director