ECONOMIST VIEWS: IS THE GOVERNMENT ON COURSE TO SLASH THE DEFICIT?

 
Julian Harris
Follow Julian
HETAL MEHTA | DAIWA CAPITAL
The figures are a relatively small improvement from a wretched position last year when we had the first ever January deficit. The government still has a long way to go in terms of reining in its expenditure. Next month's budget will show how committed it is to bringing the public finances into order.

PHILIP SHAW | INVESTEC
January’s public finances data delivered a positive surprise, as both tax receipts and spending showed favourable trends. However, there is still a long way to go. Government borrowing in calendar year 2010 amounted to around 10 per cent of GDP, the same size as the Greek deficit.

MICHAEL SAUNDERS | CITIGROUP
In all, these figures leave borrowing in April to January down by £14.2bn from a year ago, a markedly faster pace of improvement than expected by the Office for Budget Responsibility. It seems likely that the deficit will undershoot the OBR’s forecast by about £8bn, ending up at about £140bn excluding financial interventions.