UK finances win boost before key budget
UK government finances recorded a stronger surplus than expected last month, official data showed Tuesday, news that analysts said could allow finance minister Jeremy Hunt to further ease a cost-of-living crisis.
Net borrowing showed a surplus of £5.4 billion ($6.5 billion) in January, compared with the government’s own forecast for £400 million.
The government traditionally posts a surplus in January as Britons make annual tax payments.
The data comes ahead of a key budget update next month.
Despite a surplus also in January 2022, UK borrowing soared over the year on support schemes to help the country cope with rocketing energy bills.
Following the latest data, Hunt said reducing debt remained a priority for the Conservative government led by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
“We are rightly spending billions now to support households and businesses with the impacts of rising prices — but with debt at the highest level since the 1960s, it is vital we stick to our plan to reduce debt over the medium term,” Hunt said in a statement.
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