UK PUBLIC borrowing reached a record high in October, according to official figures published yesterday, revealing the state of public finances to be much worse than many economists feared.<br /><br />Borrowing ballooned by &pound;11.4bn during October, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, around double the consensus forecast.<br /><br />National debt has spiralled to &pound;829.7bn &shy;&ndash; equivalent to more than 59 per cent of GDP. That compares to &pound;695bn in October last year, 48 per cent of GDP.<br /><br />The rise in borrowing piles further pressure on the government, which this week pledged to halve the deficit within four years.<br /><br />The Treasury&rsquo;s current forecast for public borrowing this year is &pound;175bn but many economists now think Alistair Darling will have to revise his estimate.<br /><br />The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) believes Darling will have to hike borrowing forecasts to &pound;200bn for the year.<br /><br />With businesses struggling in the grip of recession, the Treasury&rsquo;s coffers have taken a hammering. Receipts from corporation tax were 25 per cent lower than the same month last year.<br /><br />CEBR senior economist Charles Davis said: &ldquo;October is usually a good month because of corporation tax receipts.&nbsp; But just when we think things might get better, they keep deteriorating.&rdquo;<br /><br />Shadow chancellor George Osborne described the public borrowing figures as &ldquo;truly terrible&rdquo; and said Gordon Brown had lost control of the public finances.<br />Tax receipts were &pound;41bn for the month, down nine per cent compared to October last year.<br /><br />Meanwhile, spending on social benefits such as unemployment benefits has risen. The government&rsquo;s total current expenditure rose by 10 per cent to &pound;48.6bn.<br /><br />Davis said: &ldquo;Some big policy decisions are going to have to be made to get this deficit under control.&rdquo; <br /><br />He added: &ldquo;We would like to see commitments to control public spending but whether or not we will get that from this government remains to be seen.&rdquo;<br /><br />KPMG head of public sector Alan Downey said: &ldquo;It is pretty clear the public finances are in a dire state. There are tough choices ahead. But it would be unrealistic to think we will get answers from this government about where the axe will fall.&rdquo;<br />