The public sector borrowing requirement in December was pounds 2.1bn, a third lower than in the same month a year earlier. This was the biggest fall in the PSBR over a year since the end of 1990.
The PSBR for the first nine months of 1993/4 totalled pounds 32bn, up from pounds 25.3bn in the same period last year. City economists said the Treasury was on course for a PSBR for the financial year as a whole just under its pounds 50bn Budget forecast.
Tax receipts were pounds 153.1bn in the first nine months of the year, up 4 per cent from the same period of 1992/3. December tobacco duty receipts were pounds 1.3bn higher than a year earlier at pounds 1.8bn as retailers rushed to buy stock ahead of the Budget, which they guessed correctly would bring a rise in duty.
Another factor flattering the PSBR was a pounds 500m net repayment by local authorities, the only such repayment for a December in the past 10 years.
The Central Statistical Office and the Treasury said many local authorities had higher receipts from sales of their capital stock - for example land and council houses - because the temporary relaxation of rules prohibiting the spending of such receipts halted at the end of the year.Reuse content