Responding to the release of March’s public sector finances, which show annual net borrowing of £120.6bn, Alan Downey, KPMG’s head of public sector, said:
“While it is good to see public sector net borrowing edging down, the reduction is only marginal. A lot is now riding on the performance of the UK economy over the coming months. Further investment in infrastructure projects will help to kick-start growth, but the big question is can the Chancellor find ways of investing without increasing borrowing?
“Part of the answer lies in the sale or better use of state-owned assets. There is still plenty to go at, from Urenco to Land Registry and from the Post Office to Ordnance Survey. These will not be straightforward privatisations on the lines of BP or BT. The ongoing interest of the taxpayer and employees will need to be safeguarded. That requires the adoption of new approaches and new models, involving innovation and ingenuity from the government, with joint ventures and mutualisation forming part of the solution.
“The government must make the case for a substantial injection of private capital into state-owned enterprises, and it must reassure both citizens and public servants that their interests will not be neglected.”
Notes to editors
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