Borrowing figures boost for Osborne

Published: Thursday 23rd April 2015 by The News Editor

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George Osborne received a pre-election boost today as official figures showed he beat his target for reducing annual public sector borrowing for the latest financial year by nearly £3 billion.

Borrowing – excluding the effect of bank bailouts – was £87.3 billion for the year to the end of March, down from £98.5 billion in 2013/14, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The result undershot the latest target of £90.2 billion set by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) at the time of last month’s Budget.

It means that annual borrowing (GDP) has fallen by more than £60 billion from £153.5 billion in 2009/10 just before the Coalition came to power.

As a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) it has dropped by half from 10.2% to 4.8%.

However, underlying debt of £1.48 trillion is more than £500 billion higher than the 2009/10 figure of £956 billion.

The nation’s debt represents 80.4% of GDP, up from 62% five years ago.

Annual borrowing figures received a boost from the best March in 11 years for the public finances, with the deficit for the month at £7.4 billion, £400 million lower than a year ago.

Treasury coffers were boosted in the month by income and capital gains tax receipts up £700 million from last year to £15.5 billion and “exceptionally low” index-linked debt interest payments, due to low inflation.

For the full fiscal year, income and capital gains tax receipts grew by £8.1 billion to £169.7 billion and receipts for stamp duty on land and property rose by £1.5 billion to £10.9 billion.

The annual borrowing total was also improved by a £1.3 billion downward revision for the previous total for the year to February.

Published: Thursday 23rd April 2015 by The News Editor

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