Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Business
  2. Economics
21 February 2012updated 22 Oct 2020 3:55pm

Chart of the day: how big is the deficit?

Osborne is on track to better the OBR's forecast of £127bn.

By George Eaton

Above all else, George Osborne promised that he would reduce Britain’s record deficit. So, a month ahead of his third Budget as Chancellor, how’s he doing? Today’s borrowing figures suggest that Osborne is likely to better the Office for Budget Responsibility’s deficit forecast of £127bn for 2011-12 (see graph). Borrowing so far this year is £93.5bn, compared with £109.2bn in the same period last year.

A

But ever-worse growth forecasts (the National Institute of Economic and Social Research expects the economy to shrink by 0.1 per cent this year) suggest Osborne’s luck won’t last. And with unemployment heading towards three million and the economy on the brink of a double-dip recession, the Chancellor’s decision to prioritise deficit reduction above all else still looks like the wrong call. As Keynes once remarked, “look after unemployment and the Budget will look after itself”.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

Content from our partners
“I learn something new on every trip"
How data can help revive our high streets in the age of online shopping
Why digital inclusion is a vital piece of levelling up