UK's fiscal watchdog says government borrowing on target for 2013-14

LONDON Fri Feb 21, 2014 12:51pm GMT

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LONDON (Reuters) - The government is likely to meet its target for borrowing in the 2013-14 fiscal year barring a departure from trend in the final two months, Britain's independent Office for Budget Responsibility said on Friday.

The OBR's analysis follows official data that showed income tax and corporation tax receipts dragged Britain's public finances to a much smaller than usual seasonal surplus in January.

However, a stronger performance earlier in the year means the government still looks on track to meet its borrowing target for the April-to-March fiscal year.

"To meet our December ... full year forecast of 111.2 billion pounds ($185 billion), borrowing would have to be 0.4 billion pounds higher than last year in the final two months of 2013-14," the OBR said in a statement. "This would be a departure from the trend over the year to date."

Friday's borrowing figures are the last before the OBR prepares its fiscal forecasts that underpin the government's spending plans in its annual budget, to be announced by finance minister George Osborne on March 19.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by David Milliken)