ONS revises 2015-16 borrowing up to £76bn

25 May 16

Public sector borrowing in the 2015-16 financial year has been revised upwards by £2bn and now stands at £76.0bn, according to latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

The updated figures mean public sector borrowing was £15.7bn lower than in 2014-15. However, it is in excess of the government’s borrowing target of £72.2bn forecast by the Office for Budget Responsibility in March’s Budget statement.

The upwards revision is mainly due to updated data being made available from central government.

In its analysis of the figures, the OBR highlighted the tax take from bonuses in the financial sector and other parts of the economy, which had been lower than assumed at the Budget.

“At £76.0bn, the revised estimate for public sector net borrowing is now £3.8bn higher than our estimate in the March [Economic and Fiscal Outlook]. This difference is more than explained by £2.0bn higher local authority borrowing and £2.2bn lower central government receipts (excluding two environmental levies that will raise receipts and spending by the same amount when they are included in the outturn data).

“We still think it more likely than not that 2015-16 local authority borrowing will be revised down later in the year as firm outturn data become available,” the watchdog added.

The ONS data also included the first estimate for borrowing in April. It found that the public sector borrowed £7.2bn in the month. According to the OBR, this was around £300m lower than the same month in 2015, but around £800m above expectations. In the month, there was a £2.0bn rise in central government spending, but this was more than offset by a £1.5bn rise in central government receipts and £700m less in local authority borrowing.

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