January 23, 2018 / 12:57 PM / a year ago

UK public finances may be improving faster than expected - budget watchdog

Office blocks of Citi, Barclays, and HSBC banks are seen at dusk in the Canary Wharf financial district in London, Britain November 16, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) - The latest figures on Britain’s public finances point to a slightly faster underlying improvement than the official budget forecaster expected in November, it said on Tuesday.

Earlier, official data showed Britain’s budget deficit fell by much more than expected last month, helped by an unusually large credit from the European Union and the strongest value-added tax receipts on record.

Despite an uncertain outlook for self-assessment income tax receipts and local authority borrowing, the Office for Budget Responsibility struck an upbeat tone about the government’s fiscal progress in the current 2017/18 financial year.

“It appears that the underlying improvement in borrowing so far this year is a little faster than would be consistent with our November forecast,” the Office for Budget Responsibility said in its monthly response to the official data.

Reporting by Andy Bruce; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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