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ICAEW: Deficit still too high for comfort as pre-election pressure mounts

Author: ICAEW

Published: 21 Mar 2024

Alison Ring OBE FCA, ICAEW Director of Public Sector and Taxation, commented on the public sector finance release for February 2024 published by the Office for National Statistics today (Thursday 21 March 2024):

“The numbers for February saw the public finances return to deficit following January’s self-assessment-driven surplus, bringing the cumulative deficit to £107bn for the first 11 months of the financial year. This is an improvement on the same period last year when it stood at £112bn, with lower cost of living support payments and lower interest on index-linked debt as inflation has fallen, but it is still higher than is comfortable. 

“Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s aim to cut the deficit by a quarter to £87bn in the coming financial year will be challenging to achieve given much-higher-than-inflation rises to the state pension, benefits and the minimum wage, while pressure to find extra money for defence, local government and public services is only likely to grow as the general election approaches.”


Notes to editors:

CONTACT: ICAEW media office stephen.froome@icaew.com or 07970 402 073