Magazine article Public Finance

Numbers Game

Magazine article Public Finance

Numbers Game

Article excerpt

Austerity continues for the public sector, but there has been a huge improvement in the performance of the economy.

This became clear when George Osborne delivered his fifth Budget on March 19. The chancellor announced improved growth forecasts, better public finance figures and record levels of employment.

According to the Office for Budget Responsibility, growth will reach 2.7% this year - up by 0.9 percentage points from the estimate in Budget 2013. This, the chancellor pointed out, is the biggest upward revision to growth between Budgets for at least 30 years.

He also boasted that the UK economy was now growing faster than Germany, Japan and the US. Tn fact, there is no major advanced economy in the world growing faster than Britain today,' he added.

OBR analysts said that borrowing would be about £108bn in 2013/14, £12bn less than suggested a year ago. They predicted regular falls in borrowing until 2018/19 when a surplus of nearly £5bn is expected.

The Budget coincided with the announcement of the latest employment statistics. …

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