Belfast Telegraph

Lower than expected borrowing figures a last hurrah for Osborne

By Ben Woods

Chancellor Philip Hammond said there was “underlying strength” in the British economy as government borrowing fell to its lowest level in June since 2007.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said public sector net borrowing excluding public sector banks hit £7.8bn last month, down £2.2bn compared to last year and below economists’ expectations of £9.5bn.

The ONS said public sector net debt excluding banks climbed by £47.6bn to £1,620.7bn over the period, the equivalent to 84% of gross domestic product (GDP).

The lower-than-expected borrowing figures come as a last hurrah for George Osborne who has been ousted as chancellor and seen his target of a budget surplus by 2020 scrapped.

Mr Hammond said: “These public finance figures highlight the underlying strength of the British economy.

“Ahead of the referendum, monthly borrowing continued to fall, with the deficit in June the lowest it has been since 2007.

“As our economy now adjusts to reflect the referendum decision, it is clear we will do so from a position of economic strength.”

It means that in the financial year to date, the Government has borrowed £25.6bn.

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