There is some good news for Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond ahead of his first Autumn Statement. According to official figures, a record amount of corporation tax income in October meant the UK government borrowed less than expected.
Nonetheless, many analysts believe Britain is unlikely to meet its deficit reduction target for the financial year with UK debt still rising.
In October, £4.8 billion was borrowed, £1.6 bn lower than the same month last year.
And in the financial year-to-date, the public sector borrowed £48.6bn, still very close to the £55.5bn March forecast for the whole 2016/17 tax year by the independent Office of Budget Responsibility.
But despite beating the odds, deficit reduction remains off track, at least against goals set out in March, which some economists fear will rule out any chances of treats being given out by the Chancellor on Wednesday.
Figures from the Office of National Statistics show net debt at the end of October was up £50.9bn, or 83% of the value of the economy (GDP).
It’s paved the way for Hammond to issue more short-term Treasury bills to finance additional borrowing and then wait until a full budget statement in March before deciding if he needs to give the economy a big boost.