Updated February 21st, 2024 at 13:31 IST

UK records highest-ever budget surplus, fiscal challenges loom

Broader fiscal outlook is a challenge as the British Finance Minister is set to present UK's annual budget.

Reported by: Business Desk
UK records highest-ever budget surplus, fiscal challenges loom | Image:Pexels`
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UK budget surplus: Britain achieved its highest-ever budget surplus in January, reaching 16.7 billion euros ($21.1 billion), as per official figures released. This surplus, attributed to record seasonal tax inflows, was slightly below economists' expectations of 18.7 billion euros.

The Office for National Statistics reported that total central government tax receipts hit a record 90.8 billion euros in January, up from 87.9 billion euros a year earlier.

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Despite this surplus, the broader fiscal outlook remains challenging as Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt prepares to present his annual budget. Since the start of the financial year in April 2023, public borrowing has totaled 96.6 billion euros, 3.1 billion euros less than the same period in the previous financial year.

Net debt of government

However, net debt on the government's preferred measure, excluding public sector banks and the Bank of England, stood at 2.418 billion euros, or 88.1 per cent of GDP. This is slightly down from December but up from 85.0 per cent of GDP a year ago.

Hunt, who plans to cut taxes to boost the Conservative Party's popularity before the upcoming national election, will present his budget on March 6.

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The Conservatives are currently trailing the opposition Labour Party in opinion polls, with the economy having fallen into a shallow recession in the second half of last year, as per official figures released last week.

(with Reuters inputs)

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Published February 21st, 2024 at 13:31 IST