Setback shows difficulty in mending public finances

24th December 2013

·In November 2013, underlying public sector net borrowing was £16.

5bn, £0.9bn higher than in November 2012 ·In the first eight months of the current financial year, cumulative underlying borrowing was £1.9bn less than in the corresponding period of the last financial year ·In November 2013, public sector net debt, excluding the effects of financial interventions, was 76.6% of GDP Commenting on the public sector finances for November 2013, published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said: -After a series of improvements, public sector borrowing was higher than expected in November. While the economy is growing it seems likely that the financial year as a whole will see an improvement compared with 2012-13, but this will be less than previously thought. In addition, the figures show the dependence of the recovery on the consumer. While VAT receipts are up, corporation tax receipts are lower than a year ago. -All this shows that fixing our public finances remains a challenge, and it will take time to restore tax revenues to previous levels even as the economy continues to grow. The government must continue to make cuts in public spending while avoiding adding to the tax burden of businesses, as this will hinder the economy's ability to grow. At the same time, the government must shift priorities towards infrastructure investment and support for exporters to keep the economy growing.

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