Published On: Tue, Nov 21st, 2023
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UK government borrowing doubles to £22.7billion in October compared to a year ago | Personal Finance | Finance


Public sector net borrowing in October 2023 was at its second-highest level for the month since records began in 1993.

Net borrowing was at £14.9billion, which was £4.4billion more than a year ago, and only £3billion less than October 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Borrowing for central Government funding was the biggest figure, at £22.7billion, which was £4.1billion above the £18.6billion forecast by the Office for Budget Responsibility.

This was almost double the figure from a year ago in October 2022, when borrowing was at £11.2billion. Central Government receipts for the month were £76.9billion, up £2.5billion compared to a year ago.

Most of this was from tax receipts, at £57.9billion, an increase of £2.7billion compared to October 2022. VAT receipts increased £1.2billion while income tax receipts went up £1.1billion.

Central Government spending was at £99.6billion, which was £5.5billion above OBR estimates, an increase of £13.7billion compared to a year ago.

There were reductions in public sector spending due to the £66 monthly instalments from the £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme not going out this year.

But these were “offset by other costs” according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), such as increased benefit payments.

Net social benefit payments for the month went up by £4.5billion to £24.9billion. The ONS said: “In recent months we have seen large increases in benefit payments largely because of inflation-linked benefits uprating and cost-of-living payments.”

Subsidies paid by central Government were £2.2 billion in October 2023, falling £2.6 billion compared to a year ago. This was because of the reduced costs from the energy price guarantee for households and the energy bill relief scheme for businesses.

Net investments by central Government increased £9.7billion to £14.2billion in October 2023, mostly because of paytments to the Bank of England Asset Purchase Facility Fund (APF) under the indemnity agreement.

Interest payable on central Government debt was at £7.5billion, increasing £1.1billion compared to October 2022, which was £2.6billion above OBR forecasts. This was the highest interest payable for any October since monthly records began in April 1997.

Looking at the seven months to October 2023, central Government received £540.5 billion in taxes and other payments, up £23.4billion compared to a year ago.

Total expenditure increased £67.4 billion, going up to £663.9 billion over the same seven-month period.

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