Government borrowing lowest for 17 years

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Government borrowing last year fell to its lowest annual level in 17 years, official figures show.

Borrowing for the 2018-2019 financial year was £24.7bn, £17.2bn less than in the previous financial year, the Office for National Statistics said.

Despite the drop, the amount was still higher than the Office for Budget Responsibility’s forecast last month.

Borrowing was equivalent to 1.2% of GDP, down from 10% at the height of the financial crisis.

The figures showed tax receipts continued to grow strongly in March, but higher government spending accounted for the wider-than-expected deficit, mostly down to the purchases of goods and services.