Stamp duty revenues up to £1.2bn last month

Stamp duty revenues surge to more than £1 billion in October to help knock nearly £200 million off public sector borrowing compared to same month last year

Confidence in the property market is rising, new research shows
Confidence in the property market is rising, new research shows

Stamp duty revenues have surged by nearly half to more than £1 billion in October to help knock nearly £200 million off public sector borrowing compared to the same month last year.

The figure - excluding the distorting effect of bank bailouts - dropped from £8.24 billion to £8.08 billion, the Office for National Statistics said.

Stamp duty revenues were up by £400 million to £1.2 billion amid a buoyant property market spurred by Government initiatives such as the Help to Buy scheme.

Borrowing would have been lower but for the £331 million cost of awarding 10% of Royal Mail shares to employees. But the privatisation knocked £2 billion off net debt. The debt figure, excluding bailouts, stood at £1.21 trillion, equivalent to 75.4% of gross domestic product.

The figures represent the last set of official borrowing data before Chancellor George Osborne delivers his Autumn Statement next month.

Government receipts were up 3.2% in October to £48.7 billion while spending climbed 1.2% to £53 billion.

The take from income tax and capital gains tax rose 2.3% to £10.3 billion but corporation tax fell 8.2% to £7.4 billion.

The central government net cash requirement was in surplus by £7.7 billion, the best October figure since 2006.

Public sector net borrowing in the financial year to date - excluding the bailouts - stands at £64.8 billion, down 8.2% on the same time last year.

Meanwhile the ONS revised underlying borrowing for the 2012/13 financial year down to £115 billion from a previous estimate of £115.4 billion.

Samuel Tombs, of Capital Economics, said the borrowing figures were a “little disappointing” but still suggested the annual deficit was on course to come in about £15 billion below the estimate of £119.8 billion set by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility.

He added: “With upward revisions to the OBR’s forecasts for growth in GDP and tax receipts in future years also likely, the Chancellor certainly has some scope to fund a net giveaway during his Autumn Statement.”

But the Treasury played down any expectations of an end to austerity.

A spokesman said: “Britain’s hard work is paying off, the Government’s long term economic plan is working, and the deficit is down by a third.

“But the figures remind us that the job is far from done and a growing economy alone will not be enough to eliminate the deficit.

“The only way to ensure that the recovery is sustainable and the deficit keeps on coming down is to carry on taking difficult decisions to control government spending.”

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