UK budget deficit exceeds forecast in March
LONDON -Britain recorded a bigger-than-expected budget deficit of 21.53 billion pounds ($26.87 billion) in March, official data showed on Tuesday, capping off the fourth-highest borrowing for a financial year since records started in 1946.
A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to public sector net borrowing, excluding state-owned banks, of 20 billion pounds.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported borrowing of 139.2 billion pounds for the 2022/23 financial year that ended in March, or 5.5 percent of gross domestic product.
Last month, the Office for Budget Responsibility – whose forecasts are used by the government – said borrowing for 2022/23 as a whole would be 152.4 billion pounds, or 6.1 percent of economic output, before dropping to 5.1 percent in 2023/24.
A new assessment of the value of student loans was a big factor behind a cut in estimated borrowing of 14.6 billion pounds over the 11 months to February, the ONS said.
The full-year estimate for 2022/23 borrowing did not represent final data and would be revised in the months ahead.
“These numbers reflect the inevitable consequences of borrowing eye-watering sums to help families and businesses through a pandemic and Putin’s energy crisis,” finance minister Jeremy Hunt said.
An ONS official said the government’s total energy bill subsidies cost 8 billion pounds in March, taking the six-month total cost to 41.2 billion pounds.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.