Tuesday 20 February 2018

Office for National Statistics admits mistake on Government borrowing figures

The ONS issued a correction on Tuesday, following an error in how it calculates local government net borrowing, which has fed through into the total public borrowing figure.

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By Ben Woods, Press Association Chief City Correspondent

Britain’s statistics agency has admitted a blunder on the UK Government borrowing figures that dates back to January last year.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) issued a correction on Tuesday following an error within its calculations for local government net borrowing, which has fed through into the total public borrowing figure.

The agency said it had not included updated estimates of intermediate consumption between January 2016 and June 2017.

By making the correction, public sector borrowing was reduced by £89 million in 2015/16, by £568 million in 2016/17 and by £142 million in the 2017/18 year-to-date.

It means Government borrowing for the current financial year – April to August 2017 – has been corrected from £28.3 billion to £28.2 billion.

The organisation said it had also found a “small error” when reporting central government net investment components between April 2013 and July 2017, but the correction had no impact on central government net investment or net borrowing.

It comes after the ONS owned up to a major data error in December last year when it unearthed an issue with the trade data, meaning the current account deficit was narrower than it first calculated.

Press Association

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