U.K. Public Borrowing Increased in October

By Wiktor Szary and Jason Douglas Features Dow Jones Newswires

The U.K. government had to borrow more in October than it did a year ago as accelerating price growth pushed up the cost of servicing inflation-linked debt, official data showed Tuesday.

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Britain's borrowing increased to GBP8.0 billion in October, GBP0.5 billion higher than in the same month last year, the Office for National Statistics said.

This was above the expectations of analysts polled by The Wall Street Journal, who predicted a figure of GBP7.5 billion.

The data come ahead of U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond's Wednesday speech to Parliament, in which he is due to present his latest tax and spending plans.

The chancellor is expected to offer a gloomy prognosis for public finances in Britain, after the official economic forecaster said feeble productivity in the U.K. is likely to weigh on growth and tax receipts in the years ahead.

Mr. Hammond has in recent month come under pressure from parliamentarians in his own party to loosen the purse strings and support stretched Britons. He has already signaled measures aimed at accelerating housebuilding.

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Economists, however, say the chancellor has little room for giveaways and has to keep his powder dry in case of any Brexit-linked turbulence.

Write to Wiktor Szary at Wiktor.Szary@wsj.com and Jason Douglas at Jason.Douglas@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 21, 2017 04:51 ET (09:51 GMT)