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Fall in UK borrowing hands Hammond Budget wiggle room

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Fall in UK borrowing hands Hammond Budget wiggle room

The government could beat its borrowing forecasts for the year leaving the chancellor some valuable ‘wiggle room’ for his upcoming Budget.

The Autumn Budget will be held on 22 November and has replaced the Spring Budget as chancellor Philip Hammond's main fiscal event of the year.

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, borrowing for August was £5.7 billion, better than the forecast of £7.1 billion.

Borrowing for the financial year, April to August, was £200 million lower than the year before, at £28.3 billion.

It means borrowing for the year could undershoot the prediction of the Office for Budget Responsibility’s forecast of £58.3 billion.

The figures have been buoyed by VAT receipts, rising 5.6% from last year to £11.6 billion.

Quoted by the BBC Howard Archer, chief economic adviser at the EY Item Club, warned public finances might a still deteriorate amid slow growth and high interest payments on government borrowing. But he said: 'Nevertheless, it looks increasingly like the chancellor will have some wiggle room in November's Budget.’

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