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Public Sector Borrowing Requirement

Oral Answers to Questions — Treasury – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 6th September 2011.

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Photo of Mike Freer Mike Freer Conservative, Finchley and Golders Green 2:30 pm, 6th September 2011

What recent estimate he has made of the public sector borrowing requirement.

Photo of Danny Alexander Danny Alexander The Chief Secretary to the Treasury

The July public sector finances release issued by the Office for National Statistics estimates that the out-turn for public sector net borrowing in 2010-11 is £142.7 billion, or 9.7% of gross domestic product—£14 billion lower than in 2009-10.

Photo of Mike Freer Mike Freer Conservative, Finchley and Golders Green

Citibank economist Michael Saunders recently said that

“the major risk to the UK’s fiscal outlook and credit rating would be if the coalition fails to stay the course on fiscal consolidation.”

Does my right hon. Friend agree?

Photo of Danny Alexander Danny Alexander The Chief Secretary to the Treasury

Yes, I very much agree with that. As my hon. Friend will know, the need to tackle the enormous economic problems that we inherited from the previous Government, including the enormous budget deficit, was the founding purpose of this Government. It is a purpose that we intend to see through, and he can be reassured that we will stick to our plans.

Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Shadow Minister (Treasury)

Given the Government’s poor performance on growth, lower tax receipts and higher welfare spending, will the Chief Secretary repeat—a simple yes or no answer will do—whether the Government are still committed to their target of falling public debt as a percentage of GDP by 2015? Yes or no?