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Brown set to borrow more (FT)

By George Parker and Norma Cohen

Gordon Brown on Monday insisted the government would spend its way through the downturn. Mr Brown said Britain’s debt-to-gross domestic product ratio of 37.6 per cent was lower than main competitors – the eurozone average is 56.4 per cent – and could sustain higher borrowing. “It is because we cut the national debt over the past few years that we are able to do what is the right thing.” The £37.6bn half-year borrowing figure is the highest since the second world war in nominal terms, although relative to the size of the economy it is below that of the 1993/4 fiscal year, when John Major’s Tory government was fighting a recession. Treasury estimates of growth in tax receipts are far short of those forecast at the start of the fiscal year, rising at only 1.9 per cent year-on-year instead of the 5 per cent rate that had been expected.


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