Archive for Julian McCrae

Julian joined the Institute for Government in July 2009 from the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit where he was Deputy Director. He started his career at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, where he spent eight years and published work on the UK's personal taxation and welfare system. He leads the Institute’s work on financial leadership for government, fiscal policy and consolidations and is a spokesperson on all areas of our work. He is our expert on: Whitehall reform and performance; Financial Leadership for government; Spending Review and Budget; Fiscal consolidations and international experience of them. He also led the Institute's research programme on corporate taxation and business investment issues. Previously in government, Julian lead work on social mobility, welfare policies and economics. While at the Strategy Unit, among other things Julian led the process spanning 11 government departments that culminated in the 2009 New Opportunities White Paper, and ran Tony Blair's Fundamental Savings Review. His other experience in government includes two spells in the Treasury, and as a special adviser at the Department for Work and Pensions. Prior to this, he taught public economics at University College London and worked at Frontier Economics, one of the UK's leading economic consultancies, where he helped expand the public policy practice. Julian is a regular commentator on all issues relating to the effectiveness of government, most recently for the Today programme, Sky News and BBC News on the Spending Round 2013 and Radio 4 programme ‘Analysis’ on tax policy.

Julian McCrae’s Posts

Distracted Ministers

, 28 March 2016

The Government has an ambitious agenda, aiming to deliver a budget surplus by 2019/20 while maintaining or even improving the standards of public services. It is doing this in a much more difficult situation than its original round of cuts in 2010. Many public services are now under serious pressure – for example, in...

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What to watch out for in tomorrow’s Budget

, 15 March 2016

Major fiscal announcements roll around at a rate of knots. This will be the Chancellor’s third since the May 2015 election. Both the previous ones have seemed like triumphs on the day, but a political miscalculation on tax credit cuts in July, followed by a November Spending Review that needs to be revisited before...

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Single Departmental Plans: implementing the Government’s promises?

, 26 February 2016

Last week we did some analysis of the publication of the Single Departmental Plans (SDPs). The plans failed to give a clear sense of the Government’s priorities, and in many instances were so vague that it will be impossible to tell whether the objectives have been achieved or not. They read more like a...

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The strange case of the missing plans

, 2 February 2016

The most important part of the Spending Review is not the spreadsheet of numbers, the rabbits from the hat, or the headlines. It is the planning that sets out how to translate the spending numbers into reality. There have been signs that the Government is taking the planning side more seriously than in previous...

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The finance function forges ahead

, 28 January 2016

The Financial Management Review (FMR) aimed to move the Government’s finance profession’s focus from financial reporting (all those annual accounts that most of us struggle to interpret) to management accounting (providing information and analysis to help the managers make better decisions). There was a degree of sceptical optimism around it – optimism because the...

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Public spending: how is the Government doing?

, 21 January 2016

The last public finance figures, published just before Christmas, show that overall government spending for the first eight months of 2015/16 is running 2% ahead of spending in the previous year. This compares to government plans for spending to rise by 1% for the year as a whole. Since these figures were published, we’ve...

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The Spending Review: what really happened

, 29 December 2015

1. On the big picture, the Chancellor pulled back from the scale of cuts outlined in the July budget The headlines immediately following the speech announced the end of austerity. This is not all that surprising, given the immediate press reaction is heavily dependent on the Treasury’s presentation, and the Chancellor was unrelentingly upbeat...

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Securing the long-term credibility of the OBR: four key changes are needed

, 30 November 2015

If the verdict on the recent Spending Review was that George Osborne is a lucky chancellor then Robert Chote, the head of the OBR, is seriously unlucky. A surprise modelling revision and embarrassing mistakes in the previous forecasts have left the OBR facing criticism around its credibility. There are four reforms that the OBR could...

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Five things to watch for in tomorrow’s Spending Review

, 24 November 2015

The initial media reactions to spending reviews and budgets are seldom that informative. Just look at the immediate coverage of the Chancellor’s last budgetary outing: that supposed triumph unwound as many people, including his own backbench, realised what it implied for those on tax credits. So here are five ways to figure out what...

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Fiscal rules and knock-about politics don’t mix

, 14 October 2015

Which way will they vote? Will that change again? And would it matter at all whatever they did? Exciting questions no doubt, in relation to the Labour Party and the Chancellor’s new Charter for Fiscal Responsibility. But what is actually happening today has been rather lost in the coverage. The BBC website yesterday was...

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