Millions of British families don't have enough savings to cover one month's rent or mortgage
A man who says his life was ruined by an illegal loan shark has issued a stark warning to others who may be struggling with Christmas debt.
How would the Government be seen to perform if it judged itself by the same standards at the business world?
Worse than expected borrowing figures for the Government in October mean George Osborne has less wriggle room in the mini-budget next month. In part, worse than expected borrowing figures are due to the Corporation Tax the Government collects from business sliding down.
Oh dear - public sector net borrowing rose far more than expected in October: £8.6bn vs the £6bn expected and well above £5.9bn in Oct '11.
Meanwhile the Bank of England's appetite for more quantitative easing has slowed more than expected: Only 1 member called for more while they disagreed over its impact.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show:
- Debt is currently £1068.8bn
- 67.9% of Britain's GDP
Government borrowing rose by £2.7 billion to £8.6 billion in October. Today's figures from the Office for National Statistics are the last set before the Chancellor's Autumn Statement.
They are crucial in indicating whether or not George Osborne will need to introduce further austerity measures to bring down Britain's debt and stick to the target.
More than one in 10 Britons who took out loans to pay for Christmas 2011 are still paying off their debts, research has found.
The Money Advice Service said 41 per cent think that this Christmas will be harder to afford than last year.
Nearly half of those surveyed took out a loan or went into more debt to get themselves through the festive season last year - 13 per cent said they are still paying the money off.
Britain's public finances deteriorated less than feared during the first six months of 2012, but it looks like Chancellor George Osborne will still be forced to announce in his Autumn Statement that the Government will miss its target to bring down debt as a percentage of GDP by 2015 / 2016.
- Public sector debt was at £1.1 trillion at the end of September 2012, or 67.9% of GDP
- Public sector debt was at £972.5 billion at the end of September 2011, or 63.6% of GDP
Brian Hilliard, economist at Societe Generale, said the figures for September "will make life a bit easier" for the Government:
This is much, much better than they would have thought only a month ago. It's still an overshoot compared to the plans but it does make their life a bit easier.
A slight improvement in overall economic activity pushed tax receipts up by 3.7% to £42 billion in September, but this was mitigated by government spending rising 3.7% to £52.5 billion.
Taking away the impact of the one-off transfer of £28 billion of Royal Mail pension funds, public borrowing increased compared to last year.
- The cost of social benefits, including unemployment claims, rose 1.6%
- Public borrowing was at £65.1 billion, compared to £62.4 billion last year
Government borrowing fell last month according to official figures from the Office of National Statistics.
Public sector borrowing fell to £12.8 billion, compared with £13.5 billion from the same month last year. It is the lowest level of borrowing for a September since 2008.
The improvement was partly driven by a 4.5% fall in central government net investment to £2.4 billion.
Samuel Tombs, an economist at Capital Economics, said: "March's public finance figures suggest that the trend in the UK's fiscal position is continuing to worsen.
"Weaker-than-expected growth in tax receipts, reflecting the slow pace of economic recovery, has been offset by lower-than-anticipated growth in current expenditure for the year as a whole.
"But with the economic recovery continuing to stutter, we think it will become increasingly difficult for the Government to meet its ambitious deficit reduction plans in the coming fiscal year."
– Treasury spokesman
Today's data shows that the forecast for 2011/12 is on track, with public borrowing down by £11 billion compared to the previous year.
This shows that the Government's plan to reduce the budget deficit is working.