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Public sector borrowing increases in April

Public sector finances worsened in April 2014 with the government having to borrow £11.5bn to cover the gap between revenues and spending, £1.9bn more than the year before, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

One of the biggest reasons for this higher figure in April was apparently a 6.8% drop in income tax receipts, which the ONS stated might be due to higher earners pushing more of their tax payments into April last year to take advantage of the cut to the top tax rate to 45%.

Overall, however, taxes on production in April 2014 were £17.9bn, a £0.5 billion, or 3.1% increase compared tothe same month last year.

Of these taxes, VAT receipts increased by £0.4bn, or 4.1%, to £9.8bn and Stamp duties (on shares, land & property) increased by £0.3bn, or 29.8% to £1.1bn, compared to the same month last year.

Corporation tax in April 2014 was £5.1bn, an increase of £0.4bn, or 9.6% comparedwith April 2013.

But the ONS stated: “April 2014 estimates are affected by balancing payments on 2013 calendar yearliabilities, which have resulted in more volatile year on year growth.”

A Treasury spokesman told the FT that the deficit had fallen by a third and was forecast to have halved by the end of the year. “But today’s public sector finance figures remind us that we cannot take this for granted,” he added.

In April, public sector net borrowing excluding temporary effects of financial interventions was £7.4bn. This was £1.7bn higher than in April 2013, when it was £5.6bn.

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