Public Finance Press Releases

Public finance bulletin: June 2013

Date: 21 June 2013
Authors:

Today the Office for National Statistics and HM Treasury published Public Sector Finances May 2013. We now have details of central government receipts, central government spending, public sector net investment, borrowing and debt for the first two months of financial year 2013-14.

Rowena Crawford, a Senior Research Economist at the IFS, said:

"Much attention might be focused on today's revision to the last two financial years' data which means that borrowing in 2012-13 is now estimated to have been £0.2 billion higher than in 2011-12. This is of no direct economic consequence, and the difference is so small that subsequent revisions could easily reverse this. Of more interest is the revision made to accrued receipts of income tax and capital gains tax in April 2013. These are now estimated to have been 27.8% higher than in April 2012. While month-on-month fluctuations are often large, this is the largest since the monthly data began in 1998. Unfortunately rather than reflecting strong growth in underlying incomes, this growth is more likely to reflect some high income individuals pushing part of their income - such as bonuses and special dividends - from the last tax year into the current tax year so as to benefit more from the reduction in the top rate of income tax from 50p to 45p."

Headline Comparisons

  • Central government current receipts in May were 2.7% higher than in the same month last year, excluding the impact of transfers related to the Asset Purchase Facility and the £3.2bn of expected receipts from the Swiss Tax Agreement in May 2013. Receipts in April and May together were 6.3% higher than in the same months of 2012. The Office for Budget Responsibility’s (OBR's) forecast at the time of the March 2013 Budget implied that central government current receipts on this basis for the whole of 2013-14 would be 2.9% above 2012-13 levels.

  • Central government current spending in May was 4.4% lower than in the same month last year. Spending in April and May was 6.1% higher than in the same months of 2012. The OBR's forecast at the time of the March 2013 Budget implied that central government current spending for the whole of 2013-14 would be 2.2% above 2012-13 levels.

  • Public sector net investment in May was £1.4bn, the same as was spent in May last year. Together, public sector net investment during April and May 2013 has been £2.7bn. This is £0.6bn higher than over the same months in 2012, excluding the impact of the transfer of assets from the Royal Mail Pension Plan to the public sector. The OBR's forecast at the time of the March 2013 Budget predicted that net investment over the whole of 2013-14 would be £24.2 billion, which is 5.5% below last year's level excluding the impact of Royal Mail.