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Deficit numbers: It's big money and big politics as the election approaches

New figures on the deficit - that is the amount government is borrowing above what it's getting in by way of taxes - have been released.

It's big money and big politics as the election approaches.

Politicians are using the same figures to make different arguments. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Today gives a taste of things to come, because politicians are using the same figures to make different arguments. The government's deficit for July was £239 million. Perhaps that looks good for them because its lower than the £1.04 billion deficit for last July.

But the figures Labour prefers to focus on are that for the financial year to date borrowing stands at £37 billion.

That is higher than for the same period last year - which was £35.2 billion.

Labour says borrowing is much higher than the government had promised when it took power.

But the government says it is still on target to halve the deficit by the end of the year - in line with budget forecasts.

What it means for all of us is that the chancellor may have his hands so full to meet economic targets - we shouldn't expect too much by way of give-aways in his autumn statement in three months' time.