Ottawa deficit for April May rises to 27billion as expenditures increase

OTTAWA — Ottawa’s finances got off to a rocky start in the current fiscal year, posting a $2.7-billion deficit that was nearly $1-billion more compared to the same period last year.The shortfall was larger than the $1.8-billion deficit recorded in the April and May period a year ago, the Finance Department reported Friday.The 2012-13 fiscal year ended with an estimated $25.9-billion shortfall for the government — the first year Ottawa failed to make significant progress in reducing its deficit since the recession.This year, the government is projecting an $18.7-billion negative balance, although the first two months represents a setback in reaching that goal.Still, analysts warn against reading too much into the early balance sheet reports of government revenues and expenditures because they tend to be lumpy and subject to revisions.“The year-to-date deficit figures do not give us much to hang our hats on when it comes to annual deficit forecasting,” explained TD Bank economist Sonya Gulati.“In addition, we do not have a sufficient amount of economic indicators for the second quarter to gauge whether 2013 government planning assumptions remain on point.”The Canadian economy outperformed expectations in the first quarter with a 2.5% advance, but forecasting houses are at odds about what occurred in the second quarter, the April-June period encompassed by Friday’s report.The Bank of Canada has set down a low-ball figure of one per cent, while many economists are anticipating a number closer to two based on the strong 1.9% monthly increase in retail spending in May, and stronger employment growth.Gulati said a better indicator about where the government stands will come later this summer when it closes the books on the 2012-13 period.Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is counting on an improved economy going forward, continued low interest rates, and ongoing government restraint to take major chunks out of the deficit figure starting this year, resulting in a balanced budget for the 2015-16 fiscal period, only two years away.In Friday’s report, the government said the deficit for April was a mere 0.3 billion but May brought a US$2.4-billion shortfall.For the two months combined, revenues rose slightly from last year by US$557-million to US$41.8-billion, with gains in personal and corporate tax receipts undercut by a fall-off in revenues from GST taxes and excise and duties receipts.Meanwhile, program spending rose by US$1.35-billion to US$39.2-billion, mainly reflecting higher transfer payments to residents and provinces.As well, the cost of servicing the national debt rose US$106-million to US$5.4-billion during the two months from last year.Combined total spending was up 3.4% relative to last year, a pace of growth that is unlikely to be sustained.The finance ministry noted it had altered how it calculates monthly tax revenues to better align them to the methodology used in the annual public accounts, which had the effect of increasing last year’s April-May deficit from what was originally reported. The change in methodology will have no impact on the final fiscal numbers, the department added. read more

There is no point sending your children to Eton because education is

“But if you correct for what the schools selected on, there’s no difference in GCSE scores. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you select the very best kids academically, yes they go on and do well. But have you added value? The answer is no. ‘So why send your kids to Eton? Don’t. If all you’re doing it for is educational achievement. Schools matter, kids have got to learn all this stuff. But do they make a difference? The answer is no.”Eton currently costs more than £40,000-a-year and 19 of Britain’s Prime Ministers were educated at the school. Prof Plomin accepted that parents may want to send there children to fee-paying schools to mix with the ‘right sort of people’ but said they shouldn’t expect the institutions to improve their grades.Private schools may also instil confidence, leadership skills or connections which improve job prospects in later life, he conceded. Although just seven per cent of children in Britain attended public school, over a third of MPs, half of medical consultants and two thirds of high court judges had a private education. But he added: “Differences in GCSE results for selective and non selective schools are not an index for the quality of education the schools provide.  Speaking at The Hay Festival, he said: “Do differences in the quality of school make a difference in outcomes like GCSE scores or getting into universities? “There’s a correlation there – kids who go to selective schools have a GCSE score that is one full grade higher than kids who go to comprehensive schools. Professor Robert Plomin Professor Robert Plomin Sending children to private schools like Eton is a waste of time because academic success is written in the genes meaning youngsters would do just as well at the local comprehensive, a leading scientist has claimed.Robert Plomin, Professor of Behavioural Genetic at King’s College London, said he and his team had spent decades trying to unpick how much of achievement in education was down to nature or nurture.He concluded that 50 per cent of academic success is due to genes, but they are yet to discover what accounts for the other half. What they do now know, however, is it is not due to schooling or upbringing.Studies have shown that adopted twins with the same genetics do just as well academically even if they have had vastly different education or parents. Although selective schools like Eton achieve higher grades, it is the selection process itself which accounts for the difference, and that same cohort would achieve the same marks if sent to a state school, Prof Plomin argues. “Even though schools have little effect on individual differences in school achievement, some parents will still decide to pay huge amounts of money to send their children to private schools in order to give their children whatever alight advantage such schools provide.“I hope it will help parents who cannot afford to pay for private schooling or move house to know that it doesn’t make much of a difference in children’s school achievement.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more