NO ROOM FOR TAX CUTS OR SPENDING INCREASES – IFS forecast  recession next year

A recession is on the horizon and the chancellor “is in a terrible bind” as low growth and high-interest payments on debt mean little room for manoeuvre, according to a respected think tank.

The UK economy is stuck between the possibility of low growth and persistently high inflation, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said in its green budget report.

As a result, there is no capacity to cut taxes or increase spending, it said.

Policy makers risk recession if unfunded tax cuts are introduced, as they could cause more inflation and lead the Bank of England to bring borrowing costs up by hiking interest rates or keeping them higher for longer.

Interest rates were brought to 5.25% after 14 consecutive rises in an effort to tame the rate of price rises.

Heightened borrowing costs and lower company profits have led bank Citi (who produced economic forecasting for the report) to expect a “moderate recession” through the first half of next year.

A recession is two back-to-back three-month periods where there is a negative amount of economic growth.

At the same time the government is set to have the largest budget surplus “in a generation” as the amount of tax coming into state coffers will be greater than government outgoings.

State borrowing will be £20bn less than predicted by the independent official forecasters, the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR).