Slumping tax revenues and higher unemployment benefit claims helped push Britain’s budget deficit to a record high in June.
The latest official figures show the deficit was 13 billion pounds (15 billion euros), compared to a shortfall of 7.5 billion pounds in June last year. Tax income fell 5.7 percent while spending rose 2.8 percent. This puts more pressure on Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his finance chief Alastair Darling to spell out a credible strategy to reduce public debt. Since the property bubble burst and Britain slipped into recession Brown has defended his policy of raising spending to help the economy through the downturn and has pledged to rein in that spending once a recovery has taken hold. But some economists, and even the International Monetary Fund, have expressed concern that investors could stop buying UK government bonds unless Britain shows it is committed to cutting its borrowing.