Public borrowing drops slightly in October

<p>New ONS figures has put public borrowing at £7.7 billion for October.</p>

The rate of public borrowing improved slightly over the course of October, according to official figures.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that the government borrowed £7.7 billion during the past month, a £0.2 billion decrease on the same period a year earlier. It is a slight improvement on analysts' predictions of £7.9 billion but experts have warned that it only gives chancellor George Osborne a "limited boost".

Speaking to the BBC, Howard Archer, economist at IHS Global Insight, explained that Mr Osborne still faces major challenges to ensure that the UK meets the fiscal targets set out for 2014/15. The ONS states that total public sector for October represented 79.5 per cent of the nation's GDP and currently stood at £1,449.2 billion.

Commenting on the current situation, Mr Archer told the news provider: "While he [Mr Osborne] will be able to trumpet the UK's ongoing healthy economic performance, particularly compared to Europe, he will almost certainly have to acknowledge that he is going to clearly under-shoot his fiscal targets for 2014-15."

While October provided some brief respite for the government, borrowing had still increased during the April to October period. The ONS noted that this period had seen public sector net borrowing, excluding public sector banks, hit £64.1 billion which represented an increase of £3.7 billion compared to the same period in 2013/14.

Officials at the ONS explained that the year-to-date figures provided a much better indication at how the country is performing. It stated that this timeframe showed public finance without the volatility of monthly data.

Among the other findings from the ONS in its latest figures was that central government net cash requirement from April to October 2014 had grown by £20.3 billion to £56.2 billion, compared to the same period a year earlier.

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