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Government borrowing higher than expected as cost of benefits grows

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Government borrowing higher than expected as cost of benefits grows

Government borrowing was higher than expected last month amid greater benefits costs and increased interest payments, according to official figures.

However, it was lower than the same month last year after the Government spent significantly less on energy support for households.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said public sector net borrowing stood at £14.3 billion in November, reflecting the fourth-highest November total since monthly records began in 1993.

Economists had forecast borrowing of £13.1 billion for the month.

The ONS also revealed that borrowing for October was 3.8 billion greater than it had previously estimated.

Borrowing for the financial year-to-date stood at £116.4 million, £24.4 billion more than the same period last year but undershooting forecasts from the Government’s official forecaster, the Office for Budget Responsibility.

Laura Trott, chief secretary to the Treasury, said: “It was right to spend billions protecting people during the pandemic and the energy shock triggered by Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, but we cannot leave our children and grandchildren to pick up the tab.

“That’s why the Prime Minister has made reducing debt a top priority.

“We are taking difficult decisions in the national interest to control our borrowing needs and improve productivity, so that we deliver the public services people need while keeping inflation down.”

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