U.K.'s November Borrowing Falls to Decade-Low

By Wiktor Szary and Jason DouglasFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

The U.K. government borrowed less in November than it did in the same month a year ago, with borrowing for the month at its lowest in a decade, new figures showed Thursday.

Britain's public borrowing fell to 8.7 billion pounds ($11.65 billion) in November, GBP0.2 billion less than in November 2016, as taxes on production, income and wealth grew strongly, the Office for National Statistics said.

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Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast borrowing of GBP8.9 billion. However, government statisticians warned that a slowdown in tax receipts is expected in the final months of the fiscal year, ending in March 2018.

The U.K. finance minister, Philip Hammond, last month presented gloomier forecasts for the economy in a budget address to parliament that earmarked an extra GBP3 billion over the next two years to prepare for the country's departure from the European Union.

Mr. Hammond has in recent month come under pressure from parliamentarians in his own party--the Conservatives--to loosen the purse strings and support stretched Britons.

Earlier this week, the International Monetary Fund said that rebalancing Britain's books might require the government to look for additional sources of tax revenue as well as trim public spending.

Deficit reduction since the financial crisis has relied mostly on cutting public spending.

The IMF said Wednesday that it expects growth in the U.K. economy to slow to around 1.5% in 2018, reflecting weakening business and consumer spending as a result of the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 21, 2017 04:54 ET (09:54 GMT)