At today’s Tory manifesto launch, Theresa May put some clear blue water between herself and the Cameroons as she ditched many of the 2015 manifesto pledges. But there is one area of continuity. May managed to continue George Osborne’s longstanding tradition of putting off balancing the books.
On the subject of the UK deficit, the manifesto acknowledges that there is work to do on deficit reduction before announcing that the party will push the date back even further for eliminating it. May has given herself until the middle of the next decade (so by 2026 at latest) to balance the books:
‘There is still work to do on deficit reduction, so we will continue to restore the public finances over the course of the next parliament.
We will continue with the fiscal rules announced by the chancellor in the autumn statement last year, which will guide us to a balanced budget by the middle of the next decade.’
As this graph shows, the Conservatives have a habit of making broken promises when it comes to paying off the UK deficit, with George Osborne previously claiming it would be done by 2015:
The problem is with their current record, there is little reason to believe they will even stick with the new date.
Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.