Commenting on the figures Alison Ring, ICAEW Public Sector Director, said:
“The ratio of public debt to GDP was down to 95.5% at the end of September from almost 98% before recent GDP revisions. This is good news for the Chancellor as he gets ready for a difficult Autumn Budget and Spending Review. September’s numbers are below what now appear to be overprudent forecasts the Office for Budget Responsibility made in March, and the OBR will likely improve its projections for the Spending Review period when it reports next week.
“However, at £108.1bn the deficit for the first half of the financial year to September 2021 is almost twice the deficit recorded for the last full financial year before the pandemic, and the Chancellor is a long way from getting the public finances back under control. Difficult decisions await Rishi Sunak in the Spending Review given rising debt-interest costs and existing commitments on health, schools and defence that will limit the capacity he has available to address significant spending pressures in many public services.”