Towards a sustainable state

Despite 10 years of austerity, UK public spending is still greater than tax revenues. How can we sustain public service provision in this fiscal climate?

Source: IFS

About the project

An initiative of the Policy Institute at King’s College LondonTowards a Sustainable State aims to provide a platform for informed debate and analysis of some of the UK’s biggest policy challenges, during a period where public services are stretched and the public purse is being squeezed.


Successive governments have not been able to balance what they spend on public services with what they can raise in taxation. A radical rethink of what services the state should deliver – and how – seems unavoidable.

With house prices now approximately seven times the average UK income and a lack of land that can be built on, quality, affordable accommodation is becoming increasingly scarce.

Increasing automation and the growth of AI are likely to fundamentally change the ways work. How can we prepare for these anticipated changes and mitigate any negative societal impacts that they generate?

As the proportion of older people in the UK’s population increases, so too will the pressure on many aspects of the British state – most obviously on health and social care, but also housing and the pensions system.

The NHS is under unprecedented strain despite significant increases in health spending over the past 50 years. Substantive reform is needed to ease the burden, yet the issue of reform is emotive and highly politicised.

Immigration has emerged as a highly contentious issue. This polarisation of views creates challenges to the development of a post-Brexit immigration strategy that commands broad public support.

Latest videos

Professor Tony Travers of the LSE on the future of funding for public services.

Kate Webb, Head of Policy at Shelter, on the future of housing policy.

Latest posts