Public sector net borrowing in October 2023 was the second highest level for the month since records began in 1993.
Net lending was £14.9billion, which was £4.4billion more than a year ago, and only £3billion less than October 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The largest figure was £22.7 billion borrowed for central Government funding, which was £4.1 billion above the £18.6 billion predicted by the Office for Budget Responsibility.
This was almost double the figure from a year ago in October 2022, when borrowing stood at £11.2 billion. Central Government receipts for the month were £76.9billion, an increase of £2.5 billion compared to a year ago.
Most of this came from tax receipts, at £57.9billion, an increase of £2.7 billion compared to October 2022. VAT receipts increased by £1.2billion and income tax receipts rose by £1.1 billion.
Central Government spending was £99.6billion, which was £5.5billion above OBR estimates, an increase of £13.7 billion compared to a year ago.
There were reductions in public sector spending as the £66 monthly installments from the £400 Energy Bill Support Scheme were not going out this year.
But these were “offset by other costs” according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), such as increased benefit payments.
Net social benefit payments for the month increased by £4.5 billion to £24.9 billion. The ONS said: “In recent months we have seen large increases in benefit payments mainly due to inflation linked benefit upgrades and cost of living payments.”
Subsidies paid by central Government amounted to £2.2 billion in October 2023, a fall of £2.6 billion compared to a year ago. This was due to the reduced costs from the energy price guarantee for households and the energy bill relief scheme for businesses.
Central Government net investments increased by £9.7 billion to £14.2billion in October 2023, mainly due to payments to the Bank of England Asset Purchase Facility Fund (APF) under the indemnity agreement.
Interest payable on central Government debt was £7.5 billion, an increase of £1.1 billion compared to October 2022, which was £2.6 billion above OBR forecasts. This was the highest interest payable for any October since monthly records began in April 1997.
Looking at the seven months to October 2023, central Government received £540.5 billion in taxes and other payments, an increase of £23.4 billion compared to a year ago.
Total spending increased by £67.4 billion, rising to £663.9 billion over the same seven-month period.
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