Friday 20 November 2015 10:35 am

UK government borrowing for October worst in six years ahead of Autumn Statement

UK government borrowing figures for October were the worst in six years, providing a potential hindrance to the government's plans to whittle down the deficit.

The Office for National Statistics today said public sector net borrowing, excluding banks, rose to £8.2bn in October from £7.1bn a year earlier. This significantly overshot economists' expectations for it to fall to £6bn.

Nevertheless, today's data means that the public sector net borrowing was 10.9 per cent less than between April and October last year at £54.3bn.

Read more: Business owners want George Osborne to address business rates, apprenticeships, funding and the EU referendum in the Autumn Statement

But economists pointed out that the dismal figures mean it's unlikely Osborne will slow the pace of austerity in next week's widely anticipated Autumn Statement. 

"With the budget deficit equal to four per cent of gross domestic product and the office for budgetary responsibility deeming most of it to be structural, any loosening now would require even more austerity in the run-up to the next election." Samuel Tombs, chief economist at Pantheon Macro, said.

"Accordingly, the chancellor probably will make only modest alterations to the overall spending plans, with any lessening of the cuts to tax credits likely being financed by deeper cuts to other areas of spending."