Commenting on the public sector finances for February 2019, published today by the ONS, Martin Wheatcroft FCA, advisor to ICAEW on public finances, said:
“The short-term improvement in the public finances means that Philip Hammond has capacity to increase spending on under-pressure public services, while potentially also cutting taxes to provide an economic boost.
However, he, like the rest of us, is waiting to see what happens with Brexit. A ‘Brexit dividend’ from securing an eventual deal – with businesses investing, consumers more confident and an uptick in the market – would help in reducing the public finance deficit further.
In the meantime, the Chancellor continues to give himself as much room as possible to be able to support the economy in the event of a no-deal Brexit.”