The New Statesman’s rolling politics blog


Bad news for Osborne: borrowing is still rising

Despite no shortage of austerity, borrowing in June 2013 was £0.5bn higher than in the same month last year.

George Osborne walks along The Strand towards a branch of Lloyds bank. Photograph: Getty Images.

There's good and bad news for George Osborne in today's borrowing figures. The good news for the Chancellor is that borrowing for 2012-13 has been revised down from £118.8bn to £116.5bn, £2.1bn lower than in 2011-12, having previously been £0.3bn higher. As a result, he can once again boast that the deficit has fallen "each and every year" under the coalition, a fact crucial to his narrative of 'balancing the books'.

But less happily for Osborne, borrowing in June was £12.4bn, £0.5bn higher than in the same month last year.

So far this financial year, the deficit is £35.9bn, exactly the same level as it was last year. As long as this remains the case, Labour will be able to argue that while there's much pain, there's still little gain.

As for the national debt, which Cameron falsely claimed the government was "paying down", it's now passed the £1.2trn mark (75% of GDP), the highest level since the late 1960s. 

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