UK government borrowing doubles expectations

UK government borrowing climbed to £15.1 billion in February – more than double analysts’ forecasts.

The government made a net repayment, excluding the temporary effects of intervening in financial institutions, of £7.8 billion during January but, ahead of today’s Budget announcement, the Office for National Statistics has reported an unexpected surge in borrowing.

The current budget deficit, excluding the temporary effects of financial interventions, stood at £11.1 billion in February while the country’s net debt reached £995 billion, or 63.1% of GDP.

Vicky Redwood, chief UK economist at Capital Economics, says: “February’s UK public finance figures are rather worse than the chancellor would have hoped for ahead of his Budget this afternoon.

“Growth of tax receipts slowed and, after underspending for the rest of the financial year, departments appear to have had a final splurge.”