BCC: Work required to close the deficit

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The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has warned of hard work ahead to improve public sector finances.

Figures released this week by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that public sector net borrowing in November 2015 – excluding public sector banks – was £14.2bn, £1.3bn higher than the corresponding month last year.

The current financial year, running between April and November 2015, saw the total borrowing figure at £66.9bn, £6.6bn lower than in the same months during 2014.

Public sector net debt – again, excluding public sector banks – had risen to £1,536.4bn, the equivalent of 80.5 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) by the end of November 2015.

BCC Chief Economist, David Kern, said:Although we saw a minor setback in November, gradual progress is being made with reducing the deficit.

“The public finances are likely to be better this year than in the previous financial year, but the improvement may not be as large as the OBR (Office of Budget Responsibility) suggested in the Autumn Statement.

“The underlying message remains that our budget deficit is still too high, and greater efforts are needed, through reducing current public spending and generating sufficient tax receipts.”

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