Minister says economy to shrink by 3.5 per cent in 2009 in worst contraction since 1945.
Alan Clarke, UK economist at BNP Paribas, a French bank, said: “It wasn’t a terrible number on the day … but it doesn’t change the bigger picture that public sector finances are in bad shape.”
In the April to June period, public sector net borrowing stood at $68bn, nearly double the level in the same period a year ago.
Alistair Darling, Britain’s finance minister, has forecast borrowing for the full year of $288bn, a record post-war high – but several economists say $312bn is more likely.
Mervyn King, the governor of Britain’s central bank, recently said the government’s borrowing levels were “extraordinary”.