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Today the Office for National Statistics and HM Treasury published Public Sector Finances April 2012. We now have details of central government receipts, central government spending, public sector net investment, borrowing and debt for the first month of financial year 2012–13 and revised outturns for the whole of financial year 2011-12.
Rowena Crawford, a Senior Research Economist at the IFS, said: "Today’s figures suggest that the public sector borrowed about £1.6 billion less in 2011-12 than suggested by the provisional outturns published a month ago. This is mainly because of an upward revision to receipts of income tax and national insurance contributions and slightly lower spending on net social benefits, partially offset by higher net investment spending.
"The transfer of Royal Mail Pension assets to the public sector this month has had the short term effect of reducing public sector net debt. However, this positive effect will ultimately be more than offset by the liabilities which have also been transferred, the estimated value of which exceeds the assets by £10 billion.
"Figures for April 2012 suggest that spending grew at broadly the same rate as was forecast by the Office for Budget Responsibility back in March for the year as a whole. Receipts grew less quickly than forecast for the year as a whole, primarily due to weak corporation tax receipts. However, as this is only the first month of the financial year, these figures on their own give us little clue as to how borrowing will compare to the OBR’s Budget forecasts for the year as a whole.”
IFS public finance bulletins are generously supported by the Economic and Social Research Council. The analysis is based on IFS calculations and does not reflect the views of the ESRC.
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