THE Institute for Fiscal Studies should have dropped a bombshell on the election campaign with its claim that neither of the main political parties is being honest with the electorate over the future of the country.

In 2017, when she was Prime Minister, Theresa May told NHS workers that there was “no magic money tree” when it came to funding their pay rises, and she used the phrase to critique the plans put forward by the then Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

But now both the Conservatives and Labour stand accused of propagating this most mythical of plants.

The Tories are promising tax cuts by finding money down the back of the sofa – from welfare cuts, from tax avoidance, from civil service efficiency savings.

Labour is promising a slight increase in public spending – 0.3 of a new teacher per school over five years – by reviving an economy that has been flatlining for at least the last 14 years.

The truth is that neither party’s plans add up. The truth is both parties are crossing their fingers when they claim their manifestos are fully costed. The truth is that neither party is going to be spending the big money that is needed to solve on of the biggest issues of our day – social care – and that neither party is addressing how we’re going to fund one of the biggest issues of tomorrow – our population is ageing so the demands on the NHS, which already has a 7.5m waiting list, are going to grow.

There is a scepticism about politics because of the way trust has been regularly breached recently – from partygate to the ongoing betting disgrace – and also because the public aren’t stupid. They know you can’t have improved public services without paying for them, and they would like a politician to be honest enough to tell them.