Reducing the fiscal deficit must remain a priority

  • From April 2014 to February 2015, public sector net borrowing, excluding public sector banks, was £8.8bn lower than the same period of the previous financial year
  • In February 2015, public sector net borrowing, excluding public sector banks, was £3.5bn less than February 2014
  • At the end of January 2015, public sector net debt, excluding public sector banks, was 79.6% of GDP

Commenting on the Public Sector Finances for February 2015 published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce said:

“After several disappointing months, we have seen welcome progress in February 2015. One of the main reasons for the improvement is increased receipts of self accessed income tax. On the basis of the current figures, it seems very likely that public finances for this financial year will be lower than predicted in the Budget earlier this week.

“However, while this is welcome news, there is no room for complacency as the UK has only closed half of the huge deficit that it had in 2010, and the task ahead remains a major challenge. The Budget aspiration of moving into small surplus before the end of the decade will be difficult to achieve as it entails three large cuts in spending.

“Restoring stability to our public finances remains a critical priority. If the UK economy is to achieve sustained growth the focus must be on cuts to current spending, not tax increases.”