Page last updated at 05:23 GMT, Monday, 19 January 2009

EU reports on British debt level

One euro coin and One Euro coin and a 20 note
The EU will also predict when it expects the downturn to end

The level of British national debt is set to come under the spotlight as the EU publishes its forecasts for the European economy.

The estimates are likely to show the UK borrowing among the highest within the European Union in 2009.

With government borrowing likely to hit £118bn this year, the EU forecast will show how the UK's finances stack up.

It comes as the UK government is set to announce a second bail-out of the banks to start them lending again.

The BBC's Europe business reporter, Ben Shore, said the UK is not alone in trying to spend its way out what looks like being a painful Europe-wide recession.

But with government borrowing likely to hit £118 billion this year, Britain may well end up increasing its national debt by more than any of its European peers during 2009, he added.

The forecast from the EU will also reveal how much money has been pumped into the European recovery plan - a scheme intended to kick start the EU economy but which has so far not reached the £180bn level officials had been hoping for.

The EU Commission will also predict when it expects the downturn to end and growth to begin again.



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