Public finances suffer worst six months

LONDON Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:53am BST

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LONDON (Reuters) - The nation's public finances suffered their worst six months on record between April and September, official data showed on Tuesday, with government borrowing more than double what it was in the same period last year.

The Office for National Statistics said public sector net borrowing came in at 14.812 billion pounds, a shade less than economists had expected but the worst September reading on record. That took the year-to-date total to 77.292 billion pounds, the highest ever for the first six months of a financial year.

The public sector net cash requirement came in at 19.443 billion pounds last month, the highest deficit for a month of September on record and taking the total deficit since April to 76.179 billion pounds -- also the worst on record for that period.

The government expects borrowing to total 175 billion pounds in the current financial year, though the figures may raise speculation that this forecast could be revised upward in a pre-Budget report expected in November.

Total net debt rose 824.8 billion pounds at the end of September, equivalent to 59.0 percent of GDP. Excluding the cost of financial sector interventions, net debt was 682.8 billion pounds or 48.9 percent of GDP.

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