The miracle of 'stabilising revenues' first. Per above chart, stabilisation, across some categories, has been achieved simply by choosing an unrealistically conservative target for October revenue. The reasons for this conservatism are a matter of guess, but:
- DofF undoubtedly knew that there will be gains in revenue in October due to seasonality, yet they opted to neglect these;
- There was, most likely, an expectation that improved October returns relative to target will provide Government with some added cushion for the Budget day; yet
- Because receipts have deteriorated so far throughout the year, the DofF 'piggy bank' lowering of the target for October was not enough to generate a surplus over the target.
The Grand Plan backfired:
As charts above highlights, tax heads are performing worse and worse relative to 2008 across the board. Worryingly - Corpo taxes and Income taxes are tanking once again and this is before self-assessed tax forms poured in.
Hence, measured in terms of their respective contributions to meeting the tax profile set out in April 2009 Budget, we are now down to just two tax heads with net positive contribution - Corpo (which will see its positive effect eroded as timing changes imply that Corporation Returns are now all but exhausted for the rest of this year) and a tiny positive contribution from Excise that is about to turn negative. In short, it looks like by November all tax heads will be underperforming targets - which will be a real feat of forecasting, then.
Subsequently, no one should be surprised by the fact that Exchequer deficit is widening on 2008 figure. Borrowing is once again diverging beyond 2008 levels (chart above). And the gap between total receipts and total expenditure is widening (chart below)
Couple more charts: one below showing just how conservative was October target and how this has led to the so-called 'improvement' in on-target performance.
And the following chart shows that the data does not support an assertion that April Budget was successful in arresting or stabilising the expansion of our deficit:
So much, then, for all the brave proclamations about 'making necessary adjustments' and 'taking the right medicine'...