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Economics focus: Cutting public borrowing is a hard slog

Is the government’s fiscal strategy still on track? Not if you look at the latest numbers for the public finances. Public borrowing totalled £14.4bn in June £0.5bn higher than a year earlier – but it is supposed to be coming down.

In the April–June period the position was even worse with underlying borrowing £4.5bn up on the corresponding period of 2011/12.

On the face of it the government should not be borrowing more. Central government receipts in June were 3.6% higher than a year earlier and in the latest three months were 2.5% higher. Central government expenditure by contrast was down by 0.8% on a year earlier in June while for the three months it was up 2.1%. Receipts are growing faster than spending so borrowing should...

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