Borrowing fails to meet Chancellor’s target despite 17-year low

Chancellor Philip Hammond has missed his full-year borrowing target despite the deficit reaching a 17-year low.

Public sector net borrowing, excluding state-owned banks, fell by £17.2 billion to £24.7 billion for the year to March 2019, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

But borrowing was still £1.9 billion higher than the £22.8 billion forecast by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) last month.

The deficit fell to its lowest in 17 years, at 1.2% of gross domestic product (GDP), down from 9.9% at the height of the financial crisis a decade ago, the ONS added.

In March alone, borrowing jumped to £1.7 billion, an increase of £900 million year-on-year.

Economists had predicted net borrowing of £400 million for the month.

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