As if we needed a reminder that Treasury forecasts aren't worth the paper they're written on, we learn today that government borrowing is higher last month than it has ever been. In October it reached a massive £11 billion. October is normally a good month for tax receipts, particualrly corporation tax. Borrowing in this financial year is scheduled to be £175 billion. I repeat, in case your gob is too smacked to take that in - £175 billion.
The worrying thing is not just the headline figure of £11 billion - it is the trend. So far this financial year borrowing has amounted to £87 billion. Last year at this point it was £34 billion. Experts are now predicting that if the trend continues, borrowing this financial year could reach £200 billion or more. One financial pundit on 5 Live just now was saying it could reach £220 billion. Truly horrifying.
If the financial markets take fright at these figures, as well they might, the consequences could be truly horrendous. Our triple AAA credit rating will come under further strain, and if that goes, well, we're in unknown territory.
It looks to me as though we will not be heading for a period of massive spending cuts, but also tax rises. Which to a low tax Tory like me are about the bitterest pill to swallow.
UPDATE: LibDem blogger Mark Reckons thinks the Fiscal Responsibility Bill is a Brown built landmine, set to go off as a Tory government prepares for its re-election campaign.