Commenting on the January public finance figures published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“The worse than expected January figures further emphasise the dangers facing Britain’s international credit rating.  The public finances are always in surplus in January due to large seasonal tax revenue, but the deficit this year reinforces the need for credible and specific deficit-cutting measures in next month’s Budget.

“As well as explicitly spelling out its medium-term spending plans, it is now necessary for the Government to announce a freeze in the public sector wage bill, and an immediate review into the cost of public sector pensions.  This would persuade the markets, and the rating agencies, that the Government is serious about cutting the unsustainable deficit, and enabling the private sector to drive Britain’s recovery.”