|Date:||21 March 2012|
|Authors:||Rowena Crawford , Carl Emmerson and Gemma Tetlow|
Today the Office for National Statistics and HM Treasury published Public Sector Finances February 2012. We now have details of central government receipts, central government spending, public sector net investment, borrowing and debt for the first eleven months of financial year 2011−12.
Rowena Crawford, a Research Economist at the IFS said:
“As the Chancellor puts the finishing touches on his Budget speech he will doubtless be disappointed by today’s public finance figures. A month ago official figures suggested that tax revenues were growing less quickly than had been forecast by the OBR for the year as a whole but this was more than offset by lower-than-forecast growth in spending. However, today’s figures (which the Chancellor will have seen yesterday) show that in February there was a fall in receipts of taxes on incomes, and a sharp rise in spending on welfare benefits and central government spending on the administration and delivery of public services, relative to the same month last year. This has weakened the picture for the year but leaves borrowing over the first eleven months of 2011−12 running in line with the OBR’s November forecast for the year as a whole of £127 billion, rather than below as it appeared to be a month ago. The latest OBR forecasts will be published this afternoon. More important for the Chancellor than projected borrowing this year is whether the OBR judges that the medium term outlook for public finances has changed significantly.”