British deficit worst since 2009, before budget update

20th November 2015, Comments 0 comments

Britain's deficit grew last month to the worst October level for six years, data showed Friday, dealing a blow to finance minister George Osborne one week before his budget update.

Public sector net borrowing, the government's preferred measure of the deficit, increased to £8.2 billion ($12.5 billion, 11.7 billion euros).

That was the highest October figure since 2009 and compared with £7.1 billion in the same month of 2014, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.

Osborne will deliver his so-called autumn statement, or budget update, next Wednesday alongside a spending review that is expected to unleash savage deficit-slashing cutbacks.

The government forecast in July that borrowing for the current fiscal year, which runs from April 2015 to March 2016, would stand at £69.5 billion.

The cumulative total stood at £54.3 billion at the end of October, according to the ONS.

"Very disappointing and difficult news for Chancellor George Osborne to digest ahead of Wednesday's autumn statement and spending review," said IHS Global Insight economist Howard Archer.

"Not only did public finances deteriorate year-on-year in October but it now looks hugely difficult for the Chancellor to meet his fiscal targets contained in July's budget."

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© 2015 AFP

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