The UK's political parties are making 'unsustainable' election promises in regard to public spending, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) has warned.
All three major political parties have pledged to substantially increase public spending and investment, even though the economic outlook remains 'decidedly gloomy'.
The projected deficit in 2023/24, which is currently estimated to be £51 billion, would rise to £62 billion if the Conservatives win the election, compared to £118 billion under Labour and £76 billion under the Liberal Democrats.
Meanwhile, the public sector net debt at 31 March 2024 would be around £1,880 billion under the Conservatives, £2,050 billion under Labour and £1,940 billion under the Liberal Democrats.
The ICAEW said: 'None of the major political parties appear to have a fiscal strategy that extends beyond the next five years, with only limited measures to address the big financial challenges of more people living longer.
'This is disappointing given that relatively small actions taken now could make a big difference to the financial position of the nation in 25 years' time.'