Commenting on the public sector finances for January 2019, published today by the ONS, Martin Wheatcroft FCA, advisor to ICAEW on public finances, said:
“The challenge for Government departments is in trying to fight their corner for more money at the same time as dealing with a great deal of Brexit-linked uncertainty. The public finances have already started to be impacted by falling growth and the content of next month’s Spring Statement by the Chancellor will depend on whether or not a deal is concluded within the next three weeks.
Although the Prime Minister has announced that the end of austerity, Phillip Hammond will have to navigate the Spring Statement, the Comprehensive Spending Review and the Budget in the context of a weakening global economy.
Will the Chancellor take the politically tough decision to raise taxes to increase funding for public services, borrow more to provide an economic stimulus, or will austerity have to continue for a little longer?”