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

“The budget deficit was slightly lower than expected, but the figure is still very large and supports our view that net borrowing will total £175bn in the current financial year. 

 “We welcome the fact that political leaders are now talking explicitly about the need for spending cuts in future years. The scale of the challenge facing the country is huge, and we must have a credible multi-year plan to cut the deficit without damaging wealth-creating businesses. “While painful choices are unavoidable, unless the business sector is nurtured and encouraged to take the economy out of recession, the country will face serious risks of further declines.”