ONS admits error found in UK public finances

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28 Oct 2019

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has admitted that the UK's budget deficit is actually between £1 billion and £1.5 billion less than had previously been reported.

Last week, the ONS reported a year-to-date budget deficit of £40.3 billion, excluding public sector banks. The ONS said that there was 'an error in the measurement of local government social benefits'.

The error meant the budget deficit for the month of September alone was about £250 million too high. The ONS had said last month's shortfall was £9.4 billion.

After spotting the statistical error, the ONS said that the amended version will be published in the week commencing 28 October.

In a statement, the ONS said: 'We have identified an error in the measurement of local government social benefits in the current financial year to date (April to September 2019), and will be correcting this at the earliest opportunity.'

The ONS said that the amended data will feed into the UK's financial and sectoral accounts for its December 2019 release.