Government borrowing at three-year April high

Ten pound notes Image copyright AFP

Government borrowing was at its highest April level for three years, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Public sector net borrowing, excluding public sector banks, was £10.4bn last month, up by £1.2bn from April 2016.

Public sector net debt was £1.72tn, equivalent to 86% of GDP, an increase of £114bn on April 2016.

The ONS also adjusted the shortfall total from the last financial year from £52bn to £48.7bn.

This was below the figure of £51.7bn forecast by the Office for Budget Responsibility and was the lowest annual borrowing total since the financial year ending in March 2008..

The total changed after VAT receipts were revised upwards by £1.7bn between January and March and tax and National Insurance contributions paid in during March were revised upwards by £0.5bn and £0.3bn respectively.

The OBR has predicted that the public sector will borrow £58.3bn in the financial year, which will end in March 2018.

Martin Beck, senior economic adviser to economic forecasting group EY ITEM Club, said: "The new fiscal year began on a disappointing note for the public finances. Supportive one-off factors last year and a weakening economy suggest the deficit is set to widen."

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