February 21 2014.

- In January 2014, underlying public sector net borrowing on a comparable basis, was -£4.7bn (a surplus) compared with -£6.0bn (a surplus) in January 2013

- In the first 10 months of the current financial year, underlying public sector net borrowing was £3.9bn lower than in the corresponding period a year ago

- Public sector net debt, excluding the effects of financial interventions, was 74.6% of GDP

Commenting on January 2014 figures for public sector finances, published today by the ONS, David Kern, chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said: “While the recovery is continuing, these figures show that the UK economy is still facing challenges. In spite of the strong growth in the economy over the past year, the underlying surplus is lower than it was a year ago. Tax receipts are also mixed – while VAT receipts are up, income tax and corporation tax receipts are showing a year-on-year decline. We can expect borrowing for the financial year to be slightly below the OBR’s recent forecast, but the improvement will be smaller than previously anticipated.

“These figures show that the economic recovery is continuing but remains fragile. The budget deficit is unacceptably high, and must be reduced in the years ahead. Businesses are confident in their ability to drive the recovery, but measures to boost growth are needed in next month’s Budget.”