By Kate Brown
According to the latest official figures, UK government borrowing has fallen to its lowest annual level in 11 years. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that borrowing fell by £3.5 billion to £42.6 billion in the 2017–18 financial year. The figure was below the estimated £45.2 billion produced by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility in March this year.
Whilst borrowing narrowed to 2.1% of gross domestic product (GDP) last year, down from 10% in 2010, total public debt as a percentage of GDP rose to 86.l3%, up from 85.3% the year before. In cash terms, this stands at £1.798 trillion.
Phillip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, commented: “Thanks to the hard work of the British people, borrowing is the lowest in over a decade. Our economy is at a turning point with debt starting to fall and people’s wages rising, as we build an economy that truly works for everyone.”
However chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, Samuel Tombs, said the figures did not necessarily indicate an improving economy: “Rapidly falling public borrowing continues to reflect sharp falls in spending, rather than a reviving economy.”