AS calls to end austerity increase following the General Election, research has revealed that current UK cuts to spending have been among ‘the longest in a century’.

The new research by senior economics lecturer at Oxford Brookes, Rozana Himaz, shows how governments have changed the way they tighten the country’s purse strings over the past 100 years.

A Century of Fiscal Squeeze Politics was published as the Labour Party sought an amendment to the Queen’s Speech calling for the one per cent public sector pay cap and cuts to emergency services to end.

The amendment was voted down on Wednesday night.

Dr Himaz, in collaboration with Professor Christopher Hood, of All Souls College, Oxford University, examined successive fiscal squeezes between 1900 and 2015, showing how different the politics of fiscal squeeze and austerity is today from what it was at other periods over the century.

The pair discovered that in the early 20th century cuts tended to be deeper but shorter lived, while modern cuts are softer but spread over a longer period of time.

This latter approach is referred to as the ‘boiling frogs’ method, the analogy referring to a frog unaware it is being boiled as the temperature slowly rises.

Since 2010, the UK has already experienced one of the longest periods of public spending restraint over the last century. However, year-to-year cuts in public spending were notably less deep than after both World Wars and the ‘Geddes Axe’ cuts of the 1920s.

Dr Himaz said: “In the early 20th century they had massively painful cuts. Earlier cuts would often be short but sharper.

“Now we have cuts which spread that pain over a longer period.”

The research explored the notion that the motivation behind the change in approach to fiscal squeezing – reducing public spending or raising taxes – may be political.

Dr Himaz continued: “When the cuts are hard, the type of cuts that people notice, voters tend to punish those increases more than when they’re softer.

“In the 2015 election result, for instance, the Conservatives weren’t punished the way you would have expected.”

The theory is that softer cuts spread over a lengthy period are less obviously noticeable in people's day to day lives, as well as being able to target different demographics at different times, again reducing the risk of voter punishment.

The research also came as the British Social Attitudes Survey showed that nearly half of Britons think the government should raise taxes and increase spending.

Prof Hood suggested the more modern approach to cuts may bring with it fresh problems.

He said: “What is most distinctive about UK's most recent fiscal squeeze is that it has not featured a 'hard' revenue squeeze of tax rises, while comprising one of the largest spending squeezes in the century.

"This outcome raises the interesting question about whether the structure of modern state spending makes it harder than before to put the breaks on."

A Century of Fiscal Squeeze Politics is published by Oxford University Press and is available to purchase online.