April 23, 2020 / 1:09 PM / a month ago

UK budget deficit in 2019/20 could be a lot higher: OBR

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s budget watchdog said the country’s budget deficit in the recently ended 2019/20 financial year might significantly bigger than announced earlier on Thursday because of the impact of the coronavirus crisis.

The Office for Budget Responsibility said the estimate of public spending in March was likely to be revised up, reflecting the government’s pledge to pay 80% of the wages of temporarily laid-off workers while tax revenues would be revised down.

“Reflecting both of those factors, public sector net borrowing in March and therefore in 2019-20 as a whole is likely to be revised up, perhaps significantly,” the OBR said.

Earlier on Thursday, official data showed government borrowing between April last year and March this year stood at 48.7 billion pounds ($60.2 billion), slightly above the most recent estimate of 47.4 billion pounds by the OBR.

Writing by William Schomberg; editing by Stephen Addison

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