George Osborne misses borrowing target by £1.8bn


George Osborne has been dealt a blow in his efforts to shore up the nation's finances after official figures showed the Chancellor missed his borrowing targets for the year. 

The Office for National Statistics said the budget deficit stood at £74 billion for the financial year ending in March. 

The Office for Budget Responsibility had forecast borrowing to hit £72.2 billion for 2015/16, meaning the Chancellor overshot his borrowing target by £1.8 billion. 

The ONS said borrowing hit a better-than-expected £4.6 billion in March, falling £2.6 billion year-on-year. 

It added that the Government saved £1.3 billion on the cost of "day-to-day" activities of the public sector, but spent £6.1 billion on infrastructure. 

Public sector net debt excluding public sector banks increased by £47.5 billion year-on-year to £1,594.1 billion to the end of March, the equivalent to 83.5% of gross domestic product.