Are Labour really spending £1.2trillion? Nick Ferrari asked an independent expert

11 November 2019, 08:16 | Updated: 11 November 2019, 08:28

The Conservatives have claimed that Labour's spending plans will cost £1.2TRILLION over the next five years - figures that Labour labelled "fake news". Nick Ferrari asked an independent expert to examine the claim.

Paul Johnson is the director of the Institute For Fiscal Studies, an independent group which analyses party manifestos and promises.

And after the Treasury claimed that Labour will spend £1.2trillion during the next government if they get into power, Nick asked him whether that claim can be justified.

Mr Johnson told LBC: "I don't know whether the correct answer is £1.2trillion or £0.8 trillion. We won't know that number until their manifesto comes out.

"But the bigger picture is that, quite openly and quite proudly, Labour are saying they are going to spend a very large amount more than is being spent at the moment - and indeed has been spent over the last 40 years.

"Last week, they came out with a pledge to double spending on investment by government. If you look at their last manifesto, they were talking about an additional £50billion for spending on things other than investment. And they've come up with quite a lot of promises since then.

"So if I had to make an educated guess, they are certainly talking about spending £100billion a year more - and for your listeners that is a genuinely extremely big number. It's not the sort of number that you even contemplate in terms of changing the amount the government is going to spend."

Is Sajid Javid correct on John McDonnell's spending plans?
Is Sajid Javid correct on John McDonnell's spending plans? Picture: LBC

Mr Johnson did point out however that the manifestos aren't always an accurate guide to what a government will really do.

Speaking about the 2017 manifestos, he added: "What the Conservatives have done in office has borne almost no resemblance of what they've done in their manifesto. They've actually been a lot more generous and have opened the spending taps a lot more than they suggested they would.

"And looking at Labour's 2017 manifesto, they made a lot of the fact it was fully-costed. But of course, it wasn't really.

"They were claiming to be able to raise far more tax than they actually would from the proposals they put forward."