Public Finance Press Releases

Public finance bulletin: September 2013

Date: 20 September 2013
Authors:

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

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

“While the monthly data are volatile, the picture over the first five months of this financial year is one of faster growth in receipts than the Office for Budget Responsibility forecast for the year as a whole. A simple extrapolation of borrowing would suggest that borrowing this year, while still historically high, could come in around £13 billion lower than forecast by the OBR. This may in part be the result of economic growth having turned out stronger than forecast by the OBR at the time of the March Budget. However, the overall receipts figures so far this year are also complicated by some high income individuals pushing part of their income from last tax year into this tax year to take advantage of the reduction in the top rate of income tax. Therefore we should be cautious about inferring too much good news from developments over the past few months.”

Headline Comparisons

  • Central government current receipts in August were 1.4% higher than in the same month last year. Receipts over the five months April to August were 4.0% higher than in the same months of 2012, excluding the impact of transfers related to the Asset Purchase Facility. The Office for Budget Responsibility’s (OBR’s) forecast at the time of the March 2013 Budget implied that central government current receipts for the whole of 2013–14 would be 2.8% above 2012–13 levels.

  • Central government current spending in August was 2.1% lower than in the same month last year. Spending over the five months April to August was 2.6% 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 2.0% above 2012–13 levels.

  • Public sector net investment in August was £1.9 billion, £0.3 billion more than was spent in August last year. Together, public sector net investment during the first five months of 2013–14 has been £7.2 billion. This is 6.3% more than was spent between April and August 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 7.8% above last year’s level excluding the impact of Royal Mail.