Commenting on the public finance figures for March, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“The public finance figures for March show that the deficit for the last financial year was slightly lower than the OBR predicted at the time of last month’s Budget. Although the figures are encouraging, the UK is still facing a huge fiscal deficit and there is no room for complacency. Reducing this deficit and restoring stability to our public finances must remain a top priority.

“British business supports the Government’s credible deficit-cutting measures, and these figures reinforce our belief that the austerity plan is achievable. The emphasis on spending cuts rather than tax increases must be maintained.  

“However, the Government’s strategy will only succeed if austerity measures are supplemented by policies that enable businesses to create jobs and growth. On its part, the MPC must postpone interest rate increases until the recovery is more secure.”