The deficit is likely to be significantly lower this year than we anticipated in November, largely reflecting one-off factors and timing effects. Borrowing is now forecast to rise temporarily in 2017-18 – to roughly the level we forecast in November – before returning to a downward trajectory. The Chancellor remains on course to meet his targets for structural borrowing and net debt with room to spare, but not yet to balance the public finances “at the earliest possible date in the next Parliament”.

Read the March 2017 Economic and fiscal outlook