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December public finance figures make upcoming budget critical

Wednesday 22 January 2020: Commenting on the latest public sector finances for December 2019, published today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Alison Ring, ICAEW Public Sector Director, said:

“This month’s fiscal numbers continue to flag up concerns over the state of the public finances, with an increase of £18.0bn in public spending in the nine months to 31 December 2019 helping to drive the deficit up to £54.6bn compared with £50.6bn for the same period last year.

This reflects a growing public sector workforce needed as the Government gears up for a post-Brexit UK, as well as greater investment in public services after a decade of austerity.

The need for a comprehensive exercise to underpin decisions on public service spending is more pressing than ever given that the last full three-year Spending Review was in 2015. The Budget in March will be critical in setting the parameters for the next Spending Review and in determining the course of the public finances for the next few years.”

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