So, it is now official, we are going to have Spending Review 2013.
First, let’s clear up some confusions – as far as we can – about where SR2013 “fits”.
SR2010 was supposed to cover four fiscal years: from 2011-12 to 2014-15, inclusive.
So, we technically don’t need another SR until 2014, to start the following fiscal year, 2015-16. But, like Labour did in SR2000, SR2002 and SR2004 – this SR will be a year “early”. And my guess is like the early Labour SRs, it’s plans will supersede the final year of the previous SR – so SR2013 will cover 2014-15 and 2015-16 in detail.
So, second, why now? Why is it a year early? And why only two years?
First, the plans set out in 2010 are now way out of line with what has actually happened in the economy and public finances, and have been anyway subject to considerable “adjustment” at Budgets and Autumn Statements since October 2010 anyway.
Second, the Colaition needs a spending framework for 2015-16, as this will have to appear in the March 2015 Budget, just before the Election.
Thirdly, it is happening now, and won’t go beyond 2015/16, because neither of the Coalition parties want an SR too close to the election or that binds them to too much after the Election.
So, SR2013 it is then. That’ll be three times this year George Osborne will get chance to tell us how well the economy is “healing” – today’s Budget, June’s SR, and the Autumn Statement. You have to wonder if he really wants that many opportunities?