British official borrowing in May lower than expected

18th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

Britain, gearing up for a massive attack on public spending, reported better-than-expected borrowing data for May, on Friday.

The country had a public deficit of 16 billion pounds (19.2 billion euros, 23.8 billion dollars) in May, the data showed ahead of next week's emergency budget.

The public sector net borrowing requirement, the government's preferred measure of public finances, compared with a deficit of 17.4 billion pounds in May 2009, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.

The reading was lower than market expectations for a larger deficit of 19.5 billion pounds, according to analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires.

The news come ahead of next Tuesday's emergency budget from Chancellor of the Exchequer Osborne, who is expected to unveil big spending cuts and tax hikes and to attack the huge public deficit.

"May's monthly public finance figures continue the recent run of slightly better-than-expected news on the fiscal position," said Capital Economics senior Britain economist Vicky Redwood.

However, she warned: "The big picture of course is that borrowing remains extremely high and additional measures to reduce the deficit will be required in next week's budget."

© 2010 AFP

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