'In the next year, the government should be able to maintain tight control over public spending, not least because of the extremely rapid growth in spending in the early 1990s.
'But in the longer term there are real concerns that to maintain such tight control, much tighter than on average over the last 17 years, front-line services will suffer,' it says in a statement accompanying its Green Budget, the institute's analysis of the options facing chancellor of the Exchequer Kenneth Clarke.
It notes that health, education and social security now account for 60% of government spending, up from just under 50% in 1978-79.
'These are choices which no political party has really faced up to.'
-- Options for 1997: the Green Budget is published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, 7 Ridgmount Street, London WC1E 7AE, price £20.