The manifestos being pushed to the people of Southport by Liz Savage and Damien Moore simply do not add up at all, according to the respected Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) today. The independent IFS is attacking Labour and Tory published spending plans, saying that neither of their election manifestos “is a properly credible prospectus”.

Paul Johnson, IFS director, draws attention to the Conservatives’ 2017 election manifesto which pledged more austerity and spending cuts but, in reality, public service spending went up by £27 billion more than their manifesto had made out. In fact, the ACTUAL Tory spending ended up being closer to LABOUR’s pledged spending levels than to what they set out in their own Conservative manifesto. The IFS say that Damien Moore’s team are promising all sorts of goodies but are continuing to pretend that tax rises will not be necessary.

This time, the Tories are neither predicting spending cuts nor, any increases beyond those set out in September, so their published plans would leave public service spending excluding health still 14% lower in ‪2023-24‬ than it was in 2010-11. And the Conservatives have pencilled in few tax changes beyond a small cut in national insurance contributions.

On Liz Savage’s Labour manifesto, the IFS note that Jeremy Corbyn ‘s current spending plans, raising extra spending to £80 billion – up from the £50 billion promised in 2017 with an additional £58 billion promise for the ‘Waspi women’ (Women Against State Pension Inequality), which Paul Johnson describes as “extraordinary”.

Mr Johnson said this Waspi spending pledge, made to a group of people who were relatively well off on average, would far outstrip any additional cash Labour was earmarking for the “much bigger group of much poorer working age benefit recipients.” Under Labour, both taxes and spending would rise to peacetime highs, and the national debt would increase by about 3% of national income. With the Conservatives, the risk is that their promise to exit the Brexit transition period by the end of 2020 could mean something rather like a “no deal” outcome. “That would harm the economy and of course increase the debt and deficit.”

While the Conservatives essentially say they want to change nothing, the IFS say that “Labour, by contrast, want to change everything” – with a state with a far greater role than anything Britain has seen for over 40 years. They would tax and spend more than ever before, putting in place masses of new free services while bring in a whole swathe of new labour market regulations.”

Only the Lib Dems’ proposals are considered by the IFS to add up properly. Paul Johnson says that the Liberal Democrat manifesto being promoted in Southport by John Wright : “is itself a radical document that would involve a decisive move away from the policies of the past decade” but that, unlike the other two parties, the Lib Dems have done their sums properly and their manifesto adds up.

“Rarely can a starker choice have been placed before the UK electorate.”