HL Deb 23 May 2000 vol 613 cc77-8WA
Lord Shore of Stepney

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their definition of the present economic cycle and the last economic cycle; what has been the annual deficit or surplus as a percentage of gross domestic product each year of the present cycle; and what was the annual United Kingdom general government deficit or surplus in each year of the last economic cycle. [HL2492]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

As set out in paragraph 2.37 of theBudget 2000 Economic and Fiscal Strategy Report (HC346), present indications are that the economy may have completed a full economic cycle starting in the first half of 1997 and ending in the middle of 1999. This assessment would imply that the current cycle started in the middle of 1999. However, given the closeness to trend and possible measurement errors, this conclusion can only be provisional at this stage.

Over the period 1997–98 to 1999–2000, the current Budget, by which performance is measured against the golden rule, was in surplus by -0.7 per cent of GDP in 1997–98, 0.9 per cent in 1998–99 and 1.9 per cent in 1999–2000 (i.e. an average surplus of 0.7 per cent over the cycle, consistent with meeting the golden rule). For 2000–01 the projection is for a current surplus of 1.5 per cent of GDP. General government net borrowing was 0.9 per cent of GDP in 1997–98, -0.6 per cent in 1998–99 and -1.3 per cent in 1999–2000, and is projected to be -0.6 per cent in 2000–01 (where a negative number implies a net repayment).