December borrowing falls as tax receipts rise

22 Jan 14
Public borrowing was £12.1bn last month, £2.1bn lower than it was in December 2012, according to Office for National Statistics figures published today

But borrowing over the financial year to date was £83.9bn, £11bn higher than at the same point in 2012/13 when borrowing came in at £72.9bn.

The public finance figures also showed that central government receipts were 3% higher in December than the same month the previous year, while spending was 2.6% lower compared over the same period.

Commenting on the public finance data, Rowena Crawford, senior research economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, said: ‘On the face of it today’s figures continue to suggest that borrowing in 2013/14 is on course to come in at around the £111bn forecast by the Office for Budget Responsibility in December.

‘Receipts so far this year have grown in line with the OBR’s forecast for the year as a whole, while central government current spending has actually grown less quickly over the first nine months than is forecast for the year.’

But she added that a considerable amount of uncertainty remained, in particular the risk that central government spending could accelerate towards the end of 2013/14.

‘Central government spending was depressed in the final months of 2012/13, as government departments were under pressure from the chancellor to underspend against their allocated budgets. 

‘Unless departments can achieve a similar feat again, spending growth may increase over the next three months,’ said Crawford.


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