British public borrowing fell to a 16-year low during the financial year just ended, according to official data which may increase pressure on finance minister Philip Hammond to relax his grip on public spending. The budget deficit for the financial year which ended in March dropped to 2.1 percent of gross domestic product from 2016/17’s 2.3 percent, the lowest since 2001/02. In March the full budget deficit stood at 1.3 billion pounds, nearly 37 percent smaller than in the same month last year, the Office for National Statistics said. Hammond said he wants to get rid of the deficit altogether by the mid-2020s but, conscious of the weariness of many voters after a decade of spending restraint, he has suggested he could announce more spending in his budget in November.
British factory order growth failed to pick up as forecast in April, after steadily slowing over the first three months of the year, a monthly survey from the Confederation of British Industry showed on Tuesday. The CBI’s factory order book balance held at a five-month low of +4, above its long-term average but below expectations that it would pick up to +6.
According to a survey published by financial services firm Citi and polling firm YouGov, Inflation expectations among UK Consumers for the year ahead remained unchanged at 2.4 percent in April. The Bank of England is due to announce its next interest rate decision on May 10. Last week BoE Governor Mark Carney cast doubt on widely held expectations that the central bank would raise rates in May.