Professor of Macroeconomics, Department of Economics
What was perhaps surprising about the Autumn statement is how optimistic it is about the downward trajectory of the budget deficit, which is expected to be significantly lower this financial year compared with last.
The public debt-GDP ratio is expected to reach its peak in 2015-16, only one year later than originally planned. Overall George Osborne seemed to play a fairly weak hand well. It may be a good strategy to announce policies (such as the increase in fuel duty) that one does not intend to implement, so one can at some later stage boast about scrapping them! The emphasis on supply side reforms and infrastructure spending should be welcomed, but ruling out any measures which would increase the tax take from wealthy property owners while predictable was still disappointing.