Belfast Telegraph

Government borrowing down in December

By Kalyeena Makortoff

Government borrowing fell by more than expected last month after UK finances benefited from lower public spending and a £1.2bn rebate from the EU.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show public sector net borrowing, excluding state-owned banks, fell by £2.5bn to £2.6bn in December, compared to £5.1bn a year earlier.

Economists had been expecting a figure of between £5bn and £6bn.

It was helped by a £1.2bn credit from the EU, the ONS said, resulting in the lowest December net borrowing figure since 2000.

That rebate was the result of a smaller than expected EU budget in 2017, as well as updated economic forecasts that resulted in adjustments to member state contributions. However, that rebate has already been accounted for by the UK's Office for Budget Responsibility as part of its November forecasts.

Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, added that the low public borrowing figure for December reflected "falling Government spending, not a resurgent economy".

Belfast Telegraph

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