|Date:||23 September 2014|
|Authors:||Rowena Crawford , Soumaya Keynes and Gemma Tetlow|
Today the Office for National Statistics and HM Treasury published Public Sector Finances, August 2014. 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 2014–15.
Soumaya Keynes, a Research Economist at the IFS, said:
“Today’s figures are the first to include significant methodological changes, such as the incorporation of network rail into the public sector. However, these are essentially accounting changes and do not fundamentally affect the strength of the public finances. This month’s figures show a similar big picture to those last month, with borrowing so far this year being higher than it was over the same period last year. This largely reflects weakness in National Insurance contributions and income tax receipts. In part this may be the result of lower than expected earnings growth so far this year, but it is also due to temporary timing effects that are expected to unwind towards the end of this year.”
The figures published by the ONS today are the first that incorporate changes to the definition of some components of public revenues and spending, and borrowing and debt. Further details on the impact of these changes on measures of the public finances can be found in ONS’ statistical bulletin Public Sector Finances (http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/psa/public-sector-finances/august-2014/index.html).
In this press release we focus on what the figures published today indicate about the strength of the public finances. All the outturn figures are presented on the basis of the new definitions. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) will not produce forecasts on this basis until their December 2014 Economic and Fiscal Outlook (EFO). However, in their March 2014 EFO the OBR produced estimates of what they expected their forecasts for the headline measures of borrowing and debt would be under the new definitions. Where possible we therefore compare the published outturn data from the ONS with these illustrative projections.
Further information and contacts
For further information on today’s public finance release please contact: Rowena Crawford, Soumaya Keynes or Gemma Tetlow on 020 7291 4800, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next month’s public finances release is due to be published on Tuesday 21st October.
This, and previous editions of this press release, can be downloaded from http://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/pf
Office for National Statistics & HM Treasury, Public Sector Finances, August 2014: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/psa/public-sector-finances/august-2014/index.html
Office for Budget Responsibility analysis of monthly Public Sector Finances, August 2014: http://budgetresponsibility.independent.gov.uk/category/topics/monthly-public-finance-data/
Office for Budget Responsibility, Economic and Fiscal Outlook, March 2014: http://budgetresponsibility.org.uk/economic-fiscal-outlook-march-2014/
Notes to Editors:
All figures are on a basis that excludes public sector banks.