Britain’s public finances recorded their first July surplus in three years, driven by the strongest tax receipts for the month since records began in 1997.
The official figures will come as welcome reading to the chancellor George Osborne, as they showed the 12th successive month of falling year-to-date public sector net borrowing, excluding banks.
July traditionally sees a surplus thanks to big tax inflows.
The Office for National Statistics reported a July public finance surplus, excluding banks, of £1.29bn (€1.79bn).
The public finances were boosted by £18.5bn of income tax receipts, the biggest intake for a July since records began in 1997, and up almost £1bn on July 2014’s haul.
For the first four months of the 2015/16 tax year, public sector net borrowing was 24bn, down 23% on the same period last year.
British finance minister George Osborne said last month that he was aiming to bring down the budget deficit in the current financial year to £69.5bn (€96bn), or 3.7% of economic output.
In the 2014/15 financial year, the deficit stood at 4.9% of GDP, half its level in 2010 when Osborne’s Conservative Party first took power but still bigger than the hole in the finances of most other advanced economies.
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