LONDON British finance minister George Osborne said on Wednesday it would take four years, not three as previously expected, for public sector debt to start falling.
Unveiling the latest forecasts from the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) during his half-yearly budget update to parliament, Osborne said the debt would begin to reduce in 2016/2017.
"The point at which debt starts to fall has been delayed by one year, to 2016/17," Osborne told parliament.
"In short, the tougher economic conditions mean that while our deficit is forecast to go on falling, instead of taking three years to get our debt falling, it's going to take four."
(Reporting by David Milliken, writing by Estelle Shirbon, Editing by Maria Golovnina)