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UK gets public finances boost ahead of Brexit – report

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s finances are in better shape than expected, helping Treasury chief Philip Hammond avoid tax increases when he delivers his budget to the House of Commons next week.

The Financial Times is reporting that the independent Office for Budget Responsibility will slash its borrowing forecasts because of improved tax receipts, reducing the deficit by about 13 billion pounds ($16.9 billion) during the current fiscal year.

The FT says the revisions represent the largest annual adjustment to borrowing forecasts since the data was first produced in 1982-83.

The change could help Prime Minister Theresa May deliver on a pledge to increase funding for the National Health Service by 20 billion pounds a year by 2023. Many analysts forecast the government would have to raise taxes to cover the increased spending.

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