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UK government borrowing falls to lowest February total in 2 years

Net borrowing by the U.K. public sector, excluding public sector banks, amounted to £200 million in February, down £1 billion from a year ago, the Office for National Statistics said. This was the lowest February borrowing since 2017.

The Econoday consensus predicted that borrowing would reach £500 million.

Receipts climbed 3.6% year over year, to £64.5 billion, primarily driven by income taxes, national insurance contributions and capital gains taxes.

Total central government expenditure rose 1.7%, to £60.6 billion, on the back of higher U.K. contributions to the EU budget and increased spending on goods and services and net social benefits.

Borrowing totaled £23.1 billion in the current financial year to date — April 2018 to February 2019 — down £18.0 billion from the same period a year earlier. This was the lowest for any April-to-February period in 17 years.

Public sector net debt, excluding public sector banks, reached £1.786 trillion at the end of February, or 82.8% of GDP, up £22.7 billion from a year ago.