The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has reported that the Government borrowed a total of £7.5 billion during December 2015 – a fall of £4.3 billion when compared to the same month in the previous year.
Total public sector net borrowing for the financial year from April to December 2015 was £74.2 billion, representing a fall of £11 billion compared to the same period in 2014.
However, with the figure having already surpassed the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecast of £68.9 billion for the entire financial year, some analysts have cast doubt on the likelihood that Chancellor George Osborne will achieve his deficit target at the end of the financial year.
The lower December figure can be put down in part to the UK’s one-off payment to the EU last year, which followed revised estimates to UK GDP.
Tax receipts also contributed partly to the lower borrowing total, with an increase in receipts for VAT, income tax and national insurance contributions having boosted the figures.
Commenting on the data, the OBR stated: ‘Meeting our full-year forecast for 2015/16… would require borrowing to fall by £20.2 billion in the year as a whole.
‘That implies an overall surplus of around £5.5 billion over the next three months, compared with a £4 billion deficit in the same period last year.
‘Our forecast does assume stronger growth in [tax] receipts in the remainder of the year… But considerable uncertainty nonetheless remains over prospects for the rest of the financial year.’