By Daniel Hunter
Official data has revealed that the UK government borrowed £120.6 billion in the financial year to April 2013, slightly lower than the amount it borrowed the previous year.
The government is looking to eliminate the budget deficit by 2017-2018. A Treasury spokesperson said the government was fixing the UK's economic problems, but Labour said the pace of deficit reduction was "catastrophically off course".
Borrowing in March fell to £15.1bn from £16.7bn a year earlier, excluding interventions such as bank bailouts, said the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
“The headline figure shows an improvement compared with a year ago, but was only marginally better than the estimates published by the OBR at the time of the Budget," David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said.
"For the entire financial year, the deficit remained virtually unchanged. Government spending in the financial year rose by 1.8% in nominal terms, only a modest real fall when factoring in inflation.
“Britain’s structural deficit remains unacceptably high, and the increase in the country’s net debt reinforces the case for adhering to a realistic deficit cutting plan.
"The Chancellor should persevere with real cuts in spending, while prioritising measures that will enhance the productive potential of the economy. If the Chancellor demonstrates continued commitment to a realistic fiscal plan, the markets will allow him greater flexibility. He can then choose whether to use the flexibility that his own plans provide.”
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