That's reassuring. It's not, however, the way the Tories see it. "We are making cuts that Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s could only have dreamt of." <http://uk.news.yahoo.com/thatcher-could-only-dream-coalition-spending-cuts-20110403-064448-074.html> Indeed, that was also the perspective of Labour chancellor Alastair Darling when he was proposing to implement slightly less savage cuts: <http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/mar/25/alistair-darling-cut-deeper-margaret-thatcher>
Worse, the data supports the perspective of the two main parties as to what they are inflicting.
When Darling indicated the scale of his proposed cuts, the IFS did the mathematics. Under Thatcher, they noted, spending rose by about 1.1% a year on average. By contrast, Darling was proposing five consecutive years of spending cuts, of a scale not seen since the 1920s: <http://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/4772> <http://blogs.ft.com/westminster/2010/03/worse-than-thatcher-she-raised-public-spending/#axzz1g266EBCt>
Now we have a coalition government implementing this agenda. The initial figures from Osbourne suggested an average departmental cut of 19% by 2015. It now seems, after the Autumn statement, that the cuts will be even deeper, lasting for an additional two years. So we have seven consecutive years of spending cuts planned. Thatcherite austerity simply didn't rate by comparison.