Treasury boosted as borrowing decreases
Public sector borrowing was £2.1bn lower last month after Treasury coffers were swollen by the highest December revenues on record.
Better than expected figures showed borrowing – excluding the distorting effect of bank bail-outs – was £12.1bn, compared with £14.2bn in December 2012.
Central government receipts were £45.8bn, up £1.3bn on the previous year, including a £400m increase in stamp duty and £500m for VAT.
Whitehall spending fell by 2.6%, or £1.5bn, to £54.6bn.
Underlying public sector net debt was 75.7% of gross domestic product (GDP) at the end of 2013, an increase on 74.4% at the end of 2012. But it was lower than the previous month's figure of 76.6%.
The figures boosted hopes that the 2013/14 financial year deficit would undershoot official forecasts. Underlying public sector borrowing for the financial year to date, also excluding cash transfers relating to the Royal Mail pension plan, and quantitative easing, was £96.1bn – £4.8bn, or nearly 5%, lower than the same period last year.