Government borrowing for UK fell in December
In what could be seen as some more good news for the UK economy, government spending dipped in December to stand at £7.5bn, which is £4.3bn lower year-on-year.
However, the official figures show that the running total is above the £68.9bn forecast by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) for the whole fiscal year ending April 2016.
December’s figures should be placed in context alongside both October and November's monthly borrowing, which had been higher than expected, as well as the fact that government finances usually record a surplus each January when a large number of tax bills are paid into the Treasury.
Another factor that is partly responsible for December's figure being lower than last year is that the UK made a one-off payment to the European Union reflecting revised estimates to gross national income.
Total public sector debt
The OBR released a statement saying: "Meeting our full-year forecast for 2015-16... would require borrowing to fall by £20.2bn in the year as a whole.
"That implies an overall surplus of around £5.5bn over the next three months, compared with a £4bn deficit in the same period last year."
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has also released figures showing that the total public sector net debt now stands at £1.54 trillion (81.0% of GDP), although this excludes support for public sector banks.
The ONS will start to include debt carried by housing associations and other social housing providers in total public debt calculations from next month.
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