The UK Government's public sector borrowing fell below expectations in May, according to ONS figures released today.
Provisional estimates point to net borrowing of £16bn in May, which is an 8% fall from the same month in 2009.
The budget deficit last month was £14.1bn, down from £15.7bn in May last year.
Total net debt stood at £903bn, equivalent to 62.2% of GDP. This is an increase from May 2009 when net borrowing totalled £774bn, or 55.4% of GDP.
Although the figures are better than expected, a major fiscal squeeze looms in the form of cuts to be revealed in next week's Budget, says Vicky Redwood, a UK economist at Capital Economics.
"The 12-month rolling total of borrowing appears to have peaked at just under £145bn and is actually now falling - on the face of it, supporting the Office for Budget Responsibility's decision to revise down the near-term path of borrowing," she says.
"But the big picture, of course, is that borrowing remains extremely high and the Chancellor will take further action to reduce the deficit in his emergency Budget."
Last week, the Office for Budget Responsibility revealed interim figures which forecast lower than expected public borrowing over the next five years. Their data was at odds with numbers included in Alistair Darling's last Budget in March.
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