UK Chancellor will welcome news that tax income was greater than government expenditure in January
Good news for the UK's public finances at the start of 2018 with the ONS reporting UK government borrowing was in surplus by £10.0 billion in January.
This was £1.6 billion less of a surplus than in January 2017, but this does represent the second-lowest January net borrowing (or second-highest surplus) on record (monthly recording of net borrowing began in April 1993).
The amount of money owed by the public sector to the private sector - ie. government debt - stood at around £1.7 trillion at the end of January 2018, which equates to 84.1% of the value of all the goods and services currently produced by the UK economy in a year (or gross domestic product (GDP)).
This £1.7 trillion (or £1,736.8 billion) debt at the end of January 2018 represents an increase of £55.7 billion since the end of January 2017.
"Admittedly, the surplus was lower than last year’s £11.6bn. But this was always likely to be the case, as self-assessment tax receipts collected in January 2017 were temporarily boosted by changes in the dividend tax rate. Barring a large deterioration in the final two months of the year, then, borrowing still looks on course to undershoot the OBR’s full-year forecast, of £49.9bn, perhaps by as much as £10bn," says Ruth Gregory, UK Economist with Capital Economics.