Commenting on the public sector finances for November 2016, released today by the Office for National Statistics, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“Government borrowing in November, while higher than expected, was still marginally lower in annual terms. Despite the slight improvement, debt levels remain unsustainably high.

“2017 is likely to be a challenging period for the UK’s public finances, with economic growth likely to soften, which will hamper the UK’s ability to generate tax receipts.

“The more flexible approach to deficit reduction announced in the Autumn Statement is a sensible step given the broader uncertainty. However, the acid test for the Chancellor’s new fiscal rules will be whether they are able to reverse the ongoing shortfall in tax revenue, which has persistently hampered previous attempts to reduce the deficit.”