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ICAEW: Public debt reduces in April despite higher deficit

Author: ICAEW

Published: 22 May 2024

Alison Ring OBE FCA, ICAEW Director of Public Sector and Taxation, commented on the public sector finance release for April 2024 published by the Office for National Statistics today (Wednesday 22 May 2024):

"Today’s data shows that more money went into the Treasury than expected, causing public sector net debt to fall slightly by £7bn from £2,694bn in March to £2,687bn in April, providing comfort to a Chancellor who is looking for every crumb of tax cutting capacity that he can find.  

“However, the unsustainable debt burden is still equivalent to around £39,000 for each and every person living in the UK. The Chancellor will be disappointed that April’s deficit of £20.5bn is worse than the OBR’s most recent forecast of £19.3bn for the first month of the financial year, although this is a relatively tiny variance in the context of the overall public finances.

“The IMF’s warning that taxes will need to increase to cover the cost implications of the postponed Spending Review will not be welcome news either."


Notes to editors:

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

  1. Public sector net debt of £2,687.4bn on 30 April 2024 divided by a projected UK population of 69.0m = £38,950 per person.
  2. The IMF’s Staff Concluding Statement of their recent mission to the UK can be found here.
  3. Visit icaew.com/budget for ICAEW’s Spring Budget 2024 coverage, including our in-depth Spring Budget 2024 Fiscal Insight.