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-UK Nov borrowing Stg7.209bn vs Stg8.105bn Nov 2017
By Laurie Laird, Jamie Satchi and Jai Lakhani
     London (MNI) - UK public borrowing fell in November courtesy of a 
sharp increase in income and value-added taxes, leaving year-to-date 
borrowing at its lowest level since 2002.
     November borrowing, excluding public sector banks, fell to 
Stg7.209 billion, slightly below analysts' forecast of Stg7.7 billion, 
the lowest for the month of November since 2004, compared to Stg8.105 
billion a year earlier. 
     Net debt fell to 75.1% of gross domestic product last month, from 
76.1% in the same month of 2017. 
     Borrowing remains well below year-ago levels over the first eight 
months of the fiscal year, recording an annual decline of 29.4% over 
2017 to Stg32.8 billion. However, borrowing was running as much as 40% 
below year-ago levels back in July. Nonetheless, year-to-date borrowing 
stands at its lowest level since 2002, according to a National 
Statistics official. 
     But borrowing has already exceeded the new target set by the Office 
of Budget Responsibility for the full fiscal year, Stg25.5 billion. The 
payment of self-assessment income tax receipts at the start of the 
calendar year tends to leave the government with a sizable surplus. 
     The surplus has averaged Stg10.7 billion over the past two 
Januarys, although borrowing has averaged Stg3.6 billion over the 
previous two Decembers. The average implies a surplus of stg7.3bn over 
the next two months, which would bring borrowing significantly closer to 
the OBR's forecast. 
     Income and capital gains taxes jumped by 6.3% to Stg13.0 billion 
last month, the highest November on record.  
     Value Added Tax receipts jumped 6.6% to Stg12.9 billion last month,  
reflecting robust employment growth and a long-awaited upturn in real 
wage growth.  That's the highest for a November and the second-highest 
month on record. 
     The central government net cash requirement fell to Stg8.346 
billion in November, from Stg12.209 billion a year earlier. 
-London bureau: 44 (0) 203 865 3812; email:

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