This book chapter looks in detail at the latest official forecasts for the public finances and discusses some of the key risks around them. It sets out the broad picture on the public finances, including the forecast for the deficit and debt over the next few years and the fiscal targets that the government has set itself.
It then looks in more detail at the planned fiscal consolidation, how it is to be achieved and how it compares with previous consolidation plans for this parliament. The next section explores the main risks around the medium-term forecast, and the chapter concludes, with a focus on the challenge of eliminating the deficit in the next parliament.
A postscript acknowledges the latest set of Bank of England forecasts, which were published on the same day as this document went to print.