Deficit not as bad as feared

A tower of debts, but possibly less than expected
A tower of debts, but possibly less than expected

By staff

The coalition government's constant refrain that Britain's economic problems are worse than previously thought took something of a knock today, with official figures showing the deficit is not as bad as expected.

The Office for National Statistics said the public sector posted a net cash requirement of £11.963 billion in May, below forecasts of £20.25 billion.

The news actually plays into Labour's hands, suggesting opposition arguments that the recovery is starting to take hold might be accurate.

Recent data shows receipts are picking up as the recession ends, and borrowing figures are accordingly dropping.

Labour has argued that its economic policies in government helped secure a recovery, a claim flatly contradicted by the Conservatives, who have spent much of the last few weeks lambasting Labour's records and insisting that things are worse than originally anticipated.

But the news will also make chancellor George Osborne's job a little easier, as he deals with a slightly more encouraging situation than he thought ahead of the emergency Budget this Tuesday.


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