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If you’re boggling at the headline, rest assured it is correct!
Let’s run down the figures. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), government borrowing (excluding the public sector banks) was £11.8 billion last month, an increase of £1.6 billion, or around 10 per cent, compared with September 2013.
Public sector net debt (again excluding those banks) was £1.4513 trillion – 79.9 per cent of GDP. This was an increase of £100.7 billion compared with September 2013, meaning the national deficit for the year to September 2014 was the same amount.
George Osborne’s target for the financial year 2014-15 is to reduce borrowing to £95.5 billion. With tax receipts going down – by £1bn in the six months since the start of the financial year, against Treasury predictions that they would rise (because we’ve all got jobs, right?) – this seems less and less likely.
According to The Guardian, a Treasury spokesman responded to the figures by saying the “government’s long-term economic plan is working”.
The trouble is, the Coalition Agreement states that “We [Conservatives and Liberal Democrats] recognise that deficit reduction, and continuing to ensure economic recovery, is the most urgent issue facing Britain”.
The deficit is increasing, not reducing, yet George Osborne says his plan is working.
Perhaps he has been lying to us all along.
Perhaps he has a different plan.