What’s new

Despite a weaker outlook for the economy and tax revenues, the Chancellor has announced a net tax cut and new spending commitments. But he remains on course for a £10 billion surplus in 2019-20, by rescheduling capital investment, promising other cuts in public services spending and shifting a one-off boost to corporation tax receipts into that year.

Robert Chote distils the key messages from our latest Economic and fiscal outlook – in his press conference presentation and accompanying speaking note.

Robert Chote has written to the Work and Pensions Select Committee in reply to a letter from the Chair. The Committee requested further information on the process of certification of Universal Credit policy costings and clarification of details of the savings associated with changing the assumed rollout profile of the policy.

Working paper No. 8: Anti-avoidance costings: an evaluation, looks back at the costings of recently announced anti-avoidance measures to assess their performance against the original costing. It finds that whilst a large number of measures perform close to expectations, there are on average more under-performing measures than over-performing ones.

Since the publication of our November 2015 Economic and fiscal outlook (EFO) we received a request to publish our estimate of the number of employees that will be paid the National Living Wage and the gender breakdown. We have published this new supplementary forecast information today, 22 January 2016, on the main EFO page on our website.

Robert Chote gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee on 6 January. He noted that the improvement in the underlying fiscal forecast in November’s Autumn Statement was small by the standards of most recent autumn forecasts and could easily be reversed.

November’s public sector net borrowing of £14.2 billion was up on a year earlier, largely reflecting the timing of various spending items and that the boost to receipts from last year’s bank fines was not repeated. We continue to expect year-on-year falls in the deficit to be bigger over the final months of 2015-16.

Read the November commentary here.

Robert Chote distils the key messages from our latest Economic and fiscal outlook – published today – in his press conference presentation and accompanying speaking note.


EFO speaking notes – November 2015

25th November 2015 – 199 kB

EFO presentation slides – November 2015

25th November 2015 – 314 kB

Government eases public spending squeeze and reverses tax credit cuts, but stronger revenues and lower debt interest boost budget balance.

Read the November 2015 Economic and fiscal outlook here.

The Office for National Statistics has announced today that “private registered providers” of social housing in England will be reclassified from the private to the public sector in the National Accounts. This includes most housing associations and some for-profit housing bodies. As a result, the outstanding debt of these bodies will be included in the headline measure of public sector net debt.

Read the OBR press notice and the ONS classification update.