These days, I get very nervous when the public sector statistics are about to be published. I keep hoping to see some limited progress towards reducing our mammoth fiscal deficit. Unfortunately, the numbers continue to disappoint.
The data for November were particularly bad. In one single month, the government ran up a deficit of £23.3 billion. To give that number some context, the government collected £36.7 billion. So, for every one pound raised in taxes, the government borrowed sixty-three pence.
That is a fearful rate of debt accumulation. Since April this year, the government has piled on an additional £100 billion in new debt.
So far, the UK haa avoided the sticky fate of Ireland and Greece. This is in large part due to the post-election budget that has, for the moment at least, convinced financial markets that they should continue funding the government's gargantuan borrowing requirement.
However, the commitment to deficit reduction has to manifest itself in the fiscal numbers. We need to see a lower monthly deficits as soon as possible.