The UK’s economic deficit is now at its lowest level since the start of the financial crisis, it has been revealed.
Government borrowing totalled £107.7 billion in the fiscal year to end of March, just below the target outlined in last month’s budget.
The Chancellor was able to meet his target thanks to an unexpectedly sharp fall in borrowing in March to £6.7 billion, from £11.4 billion a year earlier.
City economists had expected Osborne to miss it, forecasting a full-year deficit of £110bn.
A spokesman for the Treasury said: “These public sector finances are further evidence the government’s long-term economic plan is working, delivering economic security for hardworking people.
“Public sector net borrowing in 2013-14 was over 10 per cent lower than forecast at last year’s Budget, and the deficit has fallen by over a third. But the job is not yet done and there is still much more to do to build the resilient economy the Chancellor spoke of at the Budget.”
However, Chris Leslie, Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said that despite the fall in borrowing in 2013-14, Osborne had missed his original targets.
“A deficit this year of £107.7 billion compared to the chancellor’s claim in 2010 that it would be just £60 billion is the cost of the three damaging years of flatlining and falling living standards we have seen since the election,” he said.
SNP Treasury spokesman Stewart Hosie MP said: “Despite the Budget deficit falling, the current account will not be in the black until years after Osborne promised.
“When the Tories came to power, Osborne promised the deficit would be reduced to £60 billion this year. Now we find it is almost double that at £107 billion. This government has failed to meet any of the original targets it set for itself.”