United Kingdom national debt falls to lowest level in a decade

Lloyd Doyle
April 24, 2018

Government borrowing has fallen to its lowest annual level in 11 years, according to the latest official figures. That is equivalent to 86.3pc of GDP, an increase of 1 percentage point, or £71.2bn, on the previous financial year.

That was below the estimate of £45.2bn produced by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility last month.

Hammond has made more progress than expected on improving the public finances because Britain's economy slowed less than feared after the 2016 Brexit referendum shock.

"The undershoot in the deficit this year has given the chancellor a little more wriggle room, but it does not alter the fundamental strategic choice he will need to make in November". Subsequent Chancellors have introduced other spending rules, including trying to reduce the overall amount of debt, which now stands at £1.8 trillion. That figure excludes public sector banks but does include for temporary Bank of England lending that was introduced to revive the country's economy.

Hammond wants to bring down debt as a share of GDP each year from the 2018/19 financial year, something which is a near certainty due to the impending reversal of the BoE scheme.

The budget deficit for the year to March was £42.6 billion, £3.5 billion below 2017 and the lowest level since the year to March 2007, the Office for National Statistics said.

On a day-to-day basis, which excludes capital spending, the British government posted its first current account surplus since 2001/2002.

The shortfall was also smaller than a median forecast of 3.25 billion pounds in a Reuters poll of economists.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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