Government deficit falls faster than anticipated in September but spending is still on the rise

The government's budget deficit has (by one measure) come in lower than expected in September. At £11.1bn, that's shy of the £11.3bn that analysts had anticipated, and a fall from £12.1bn in the month before.

In that period government revenues rose by seven per cent, with spending up 2.5 per cent.

The privatisation of Royal Mail in October should mean that September is the last month in which Royal Mail plays a large part in these finances. Here's the Office for National Statistics (ONS) comment on how accounting for the change will take place:

In October 2013 the UK Government sold shares in Royal Mail. Including the income from the sale of shares is relatively straightforward for the Central Government Net Cash Requirement. However, there are complex factors related to how the sale of the shares is treated in public sector finances debt and net borrowing, namely the treatment of the employee share offer and how the Royal Mail is classified following the sale of shares. The ONS preference is to take account of each of these factors at the same time, and this could affect when the transactions related to Royal Mail shares are recorded in debt and net borrowing.

Here are the different measures of public sector net borrowing from the ONS, in their various flavours and forms:

• In September 2013, public sector net borrowing excluding temporary effects of financial interventions (PSNB ex) was £11.1 billion. This was £1.0 billion lower than in September 2012, when it was £12.1 billion.
• Public sector net debt excluding temporary effects of financial interventions (PSND ex) was £1,211.8 billion at the end of September 2013, equivalent to 75.9% of gross domestic product (GDP).