Britain's public borrowing drops in February

2013-03-21 16:56:30 GMT2013-03-22 00:56:30(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

LONDON, March 21 (Xinhua) -- Britain's public sector net borrowing dropped to 2.8 billion pounds (4.3 billion U.S. dollars) in February thanks to the proceeds from the auction of the 4G Spectrum, said the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Thursday.

The ONS said the figure dropped from 11.8 billion pounds in February 2012.

However, this is good news for British Finance Minister George Osborne, who pledged to cut government spending in coming years in his Budget statement delivered in the parliament on Wednesday.

According to the ONS figures, the current budget deficit of the public sector was 1.1 billion pounds in February, 7.1 billion pounds lower than the same month last year.

According to Osborne's Budget statement, the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) predicted borrowing of 121 billion pounds this year, the same as last year, and 120 billion pounds for 2014-15.

In 2012-13, public sector net borrowing and public sector current budget deficit are reduced by 6.4 billion as a result of cash transfers from the Bank of England Asset Purchase Facility Fund to government, said the ONS.

"Public sector net debt was 1,161.5 billion pounds at the end of February 2013, equivalent to 73.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP)," it said.

Osborne said in his Budget that the deficit as a share of GDP will fall from 7.4 percent in 2013-14 to 5 percent in 2015-16 and debt as a share of GDP will increase from 75.9 percent this year to 85.6 percent in 2016-17. (1 pound = 1.52 U.S. dollars)

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