Osborne needs to explain what his spending cuts would mean for Britain

Richard Edgar

Former Economics Editor

George Osborne visiting a factory this morning. Credit: Darren Staples/PA Wire

The chancellor needs to explain to voters what the implications are if the spending cuts he proposes are implemented.

They would be "on a colossal scale" says Paul Johnson of the Institute of Fiscal Studies, taking the size of the state to its "smallest in many generations"

Analysing the chancellor's Autumn Statement, Mr Johnson says:

One cannot just look at the scale of the implied cuts going forward and say they are unachievable. But how ... will they be implemented? What will local government, the defence force, the transport system, look like in this world? Is this a fundamental re-imagining of the state?

IFS Director Paul Johnson

Mr Johnson feels we're not being told the consequences of pursuing the Chancellor's targets to meet his targets to reduce borrowing sharply.

The answers may be unpalatable to many.

One other stark message from the IFS as it picks through the detail of the Autumn Statement is that Mr Osborne has been up to his old tricks of making permanent giveaways, paid for by temporary revenues.

In this case the income tax personal allowance increase, the stamp duty changes and National Insurance Contribution cuts for employers of apprentices are being paid for by the fines on banks - a billion pounds spread over four years ... but no more after that.

Perhaps Mr Osborne anticipates more bad behaviour from bankers meaning the fines keep rolling in.

Read: Osborne attacks 'nonsense' spending cuts coverage