AS 2014: OBR predicts £23bn surplus a year late in 2019-20

The Government will post a £23bn surplus in 2019/20, getting the public books further into black but a year later than planned. 

Chancellor George Osborne told Parliament in today’s Autumn Statement that borrowing over the next four years would be higher than forecast before the surplus is predicted to be reached.

The OBR’s method of calculating the deficit has been “revised” he admitted, but the figures are still comparable on a like for like basis, he said.

He added that the prediction went against those who said the deficit was growing.

He said: “But we have discovered today, I’m afraid, not for the first time, that predictions were wrong.”

The Office for Budget Responsibility estimate borrowing to be £97.5bn in 2014-15, falling to £91.3bn the following year.

The deficit will continue to fall in each of the following years, hitting a much larger than expected £23bn surplus in 2019-20, despite the books getting back to black a year later than originally forecast.

”Out of the red and into the black for the first time in a generation – a country that inspires confidence around the world because it seeks to live within its means,” Osborne said.

By 2019-20, net debt to GDP will be 72.8 per cent. It will peak at 81.1 per cent in 2015-16.

Four years ago the Government inherited a £150bn annual shortfall.

The OBR’s March estimate had predicted a £5bn surplus in 2018-19.

  Public deficit forecasts          
    2014-15 2015-16 2016-2017 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20
Autumn Statement £97.5bn £91.3bn £75.9bn £40.9bn £14.5bn £23bn surplus
OBR March forecast £87bn £69bn £42bn £16bn £5bn surplus n/a