In charts: Here's what the government's public sector borrowing figures actually mean

 
Billy Ehrenberg
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In the financial year so far (April - July) public sector net borrowing was £32.4 billion

Figures published by the Office for National (ONS) Statistics today showed public sector borrowing has risen again - this time to £32.4bn between April and July, up from £23bn during the same period last year.

These figures are slightly skewed by the Bank of England's quantitative easing programme from last year - stripping that out, the true figure for this year "is £37.0bn, or £1.8bn higher than the same period in 2013/14".

The total figures for this June, at £200m, was £800m lower than the equivalent stat from June 2013. Monthly data is often too volatile to be useful and it's best to look at long-term trends.

The big problem for the government is that the recovery isn't translating into high enough tax receipts, which means a slow reduction of the deficit, as this graph shows.

Receipts rose on last year, however.

Central government receipts (excluding APF) for the financial year-to-date were £187.4 billion. This was £3.8bn (2.1 per cent) higher than the same period in 2013/14.
VAT is up

... as is the combined total of production taxes.

Income tax is down while corporation tax is up
The Economist featured an article this week on how income tax is not supporting the recovery. According to the paper's research, income tax has consistently fallen in real terms since 2010.
The ONS data shows income tax related payments decreased by £0.5 billion (or 1.1 per cent) to £49.4bn (April to June).
This is a problem: unemployment is down at 6.2 per cent but wages aren't responding (they've risen 0.1 per cent this financial year). Wilting receipts contribute to the slow falling of the black line in the first graph.
Here is a graph of the combined increase up to last year. Unfortunately the quarter on quarter data is too volatile to be illustrative, and looks like an aggressive saw edge.

Hated stamp duties are raking it in
Stamp duties (on shares, land & property) increased by £1.0 billion (or 26.5%) to £4.8bn. All of this increase came from land and property. Stamp duty was up and inflation-adjusted 71 per cent since January 2013.
How has borrowing evolved?
The coalition came to power promising to cut the deficit. The below graphs shows net borrowing. The reaction to the financial crisis is stark, and borrowing is nowhere near a return to pre-crisis levels - even if the grey sections (indicating the Royal Mail sale and Asset Purchase Facility Transfer) are stripped out.

Meanwhile, net debt has continued to rise.
This subheading comes with a caveat: borrowing isn't a bad thing if the total debt and interest payments rise by less than GDP. GDP growth has been strong but we cannot compare the two accurately because of changes to the way GDP is calculated. Useable figures should be available on 30 September.
Public sector net debt (excluding financial interventions) rose by around 7.9 per cent in the last year. UK GDP growth was revised to 3.2 per cent between Q2 2013 and Q2 2014.

What does the rest of the year look like?
Very similar to last year, actually. The cumulative borrowing for the year is above last year's figures, although the Office for Budget responsibility has predicted a drop.

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