Public finances strongest since January 2009

City A.M. Reporter
Britain showed a bigger than expected seasonal surplus on its January public sector net borrowing measure, after unusually strong annual growth in income tax receipts, official data showed.

The figures appear to put the government well on track to meet its full-year fiscal targets, although the Office for National Statistics said the strong January tax receipts might lead to a bigger-than-normal fall back in revenue in February.

Public sector net borrowing including financial sector interventions showed a January surplus of £5.252bn, up from a surplus of just £95m a year ago and much better than economists' forecasts of an improvement to £700m.

January is typically a surplus month for the public accounts, as annual income tax bills become payable in that month.

The government's preferred measure of public sector borrowing excluding financial sector interventions showed a surplus of £3.735bn, up from a deficit of £1.266bn a year ago.