Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has shown that there was a surplus of £8.8 billion in UK government finances for January. This is the highest surplus seen in seven years and higher than the £6.5 billion surplus for January 2014. The surplus means that borrowing has fell to £73 billion for the past year, a reduction of £6 billion compared to last year. The borrowing target for the 2015 financial year stands at £91.3 billion. The surplus is due to a better than expected rise in tax receipts. The Treasury say this is down to a rise of people working for themselves, self-assessed income tax receipts were £12.3 billion in January which is an increase of £1.7 billion compared to last January.
January is traditionally the biggest month for tax receipts due to the self-employed making income tax payments. The surplus was slightly under economist’s predictions of £9 billion. The income has been boosted due to many employers delaying bonuses until the top rate of tax was lowered to 45 per cent. The ONS also revised down its borrowing estimates across the financial year, which included a £1.2 billion refund from the European Commission on its £2.9 billion EU budget payment in December.