Boost for Chancellor as borrowing undershoots target

Chancellor Philip Hammond has beaten his full-year budget deficit target after borrowing fell sharply in March as official figures also revealed the first surplus on day-to-day government spending for 16 years.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said overall public sector net borrowing (excluding public sector banks) fell £3.5 billion to £42.6 billion in the fiscal year after the lowest March borrowing for 14 years.

The full-year figure was the lowest since 2006-07 and was also below the £45.2 billion predicted by the UK's fiscal watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

It comes after borrowing fell £800 million year on year to £1.3 billion in March - the lowest borrowing for the month since 2004.

The ONS data also showed a £112 million surplus in 2017-18 on the UK's current budget, which measures day-to-day spending by the Government - the first surplus since 2001-02.

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