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UK's Brown holds growth forecast, to borrow money

Written by: Staff
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LONDON, Mar 22 (Reuters) British economic growth will pick up to 2.75-3.25 percent in 2007, finance minister Gordon Brown predicted on Wednesday, but the government will borrow two billion pounds more in fiscal 2006/07 than forecast in December.

Presenting his 10th annual budget to parliament, Brown kept his growth forecasts unchanged, estimating growth of 2.0-2.5 percent in 2006, but raised his December forecast of public sector net borrowing (PSNB) for 2006/07 to 36 billion pounds.

He had predicted 2006/07 PSNB of 34 billion pounds (corrects) in his pre-budget report three months ago. Brown left his forecast for 2005/06 borrowing unchanged at 37 billion pounds (corrects).

January saw a big rise in corporation tax revenue, as Brown had predicted, although public borrowing in February was double analysts' expectations and the highest for that month since Labour came to power.

The British economy grew by 1.8 percent in 2005, the slowest pace in 13 years.

REUTERS SD BD2022

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