UK government borrowing falls, ONS figures show

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has found that government borrowing declined slightly in the month of May, compared to the same time in 2015, but maintained the figure was still higher than expected.

The data showed that borrowing, reached £9.7 billion in May, 0.4 billion less that for the same month last year. However, economists had predicted the amount borrowed would be around £9.5 billion, £0.2 less than the actual amount.

The ONS has revised its estimate for the the amount borrowed in 2015-16 down to £74.9 billion.

The data shows that receipts from income, corporation and VAT taxes in May were all higher than the previous year, but that the government's total current expenditure also rose.

The news comes as the the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), which produces economic forecasts for the government, has estimated that the public sector will borrow £55.5 billion during the financial year to March 2017; a reduction of about £20 billion for the previous financial year.

Capital Economics economist Scott Bowman commented: “Admittedly, we would take the figures for the first few months of the fiscal year with a pinch of salt as they are often revised in time due to being largely based on forecast data.

"And if the UK votes to remain in the EU next month - as bookmakers' odds still suggest - then GDP growth should rebound in the second half of this year, paving the way for a more rapid improvement in the public finances.”