Follow us
Publications Commentary Research People Events News Resources and Videos About IFS
Home Publications Public Finance bulletin: April 2012

Public Finance bulletin: April 2012

Rowena Crawford and Gemma Tetlow
Public finance press release

Today the Office for National Statistics and HM Treasury published Public Sector Finances March 2012. We now have provisional details of central government receipts, central government spending, public sector net investment, borrowing and debt for the whole of financial year 2011−12.

Rowena Crawford, a research economist at the IFS, said: "Today's figures show that the Government borrowed £126 billion last year, as was forecast by the Office for Budget Responsibility last month; although within this both central government spending and revenues were slightly lower than forecast a month ago. Taking the longer view, borrowing in 2011−12 is estimated to have been only £4 billion higher than forecast a year ago in the March 2011 Budget. This would be considered a small forecasting error even in normal times and this is therefore particularly small given current levels of uncertainty. However within this central government current receipts in 2011−12 are estimated to have come in £16 billion lower than forecast a year ago, offset largely by central government current spending coming in £10 billion lower and public sector net investment £3 billion lower than forecast."

Headline comparisons

  • Public sector net borrowing totalled £126.0bn in 2011−12, as was forecast last month by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) in their Economic and Fiscal Outlook. This is £10.8bn lower than the £136.8bn borrowed in 2010−11.

  • Public sector net investment was £28.6bn in 2011−12, slightly higher than the £27.8bn forecast by the OBR in March 2012.

  • The current budget deficit in 2011−12 was £97.3bn, which is £0.9bn lower than the £98.2bn forecast by the OBR in March 2012.

  • Underlying public sector net debt at the end of March 2012 stood at 66% of national income. Including the impact of the financial interventions raises headline public sector net debt to 140.8%.