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Spending announcements may be a sweetener ahead of bad news on the public finances

The Government has committed billions to improving the UK's road network. Credit: Tim Ockenden/PA

NHS yesterday, roads today, jam tomorrow (actually floods and house building).

So goes the programme of announcements before George Osborne delivers his Autumn Statement on Wednesday.

You'll note a similarity between the extra funds for the health service, the green light on £15 billion of road building (money announced before), and lots of housebuilding.

They all involving spending cash, and they are all about giving voters some good news (although environmentalists may well disagree over new roads and new homes on greenfield land).

Why then, the sudden bout of generosity from the Chancellor?

It could be because he is about to tell us in his Autumn Statement (or six month budget) that the public finances have deteriorated in recent months.

George Osborne speaking in Parliament. Credit: PA Wire

And that is possible despite having the fastest growing economy in the Western world.

It's explained by much lower revenues in the government coffers - mostly because of lower income tax receipts.

Despite the growth in jobs and consequential fall in unemployment - workers in those jobs are not paying the sort of tax the Chancellor had hoped.

That is partly his own doing: he raised the tax free allowance to £10,500 (the amount you earn before you start to pay income tax).

As does the type of jobs being created: many of which are being taken by younger workers and are lower paid.

It all means the government is borrowing more than projected.

In the first six months of 2014-15, George Osborne borrowed £64.1 billion.

The A30 trunk road in the west country is being widened as part of a £15bn investment. Credit: PA Images

That's £3.7 billion more than the same period last year and makes it unlikely he will hit his target this year.

In the main Budget speech in March, Mr Osborne predicted borrowing of £95.5 billion.

So, unless there is an unexpectedly large injection of tax receipts in January (after the self-assessment period ends), the Government will have to admit borrowing this year (and in subsequent years) will be higher than planned.

Some economists suggest the cumulative additional borrowing over the next five year will be as much as £75 billion.

Now you might understand why voters are having money-spending announcements thrown over them like confetti at a summer wedding because Wednesday might be a very dark winter day as George Osborne unveils his Autumn Statement.

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