By Jonathan Davies

Public sector borrowing fell by £11 billion in the financial year ending March 2015, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It beats the £90.2bn figure forecast by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) in the Chancellor George Osborne's Budget Statement in March.

The ONS said borrowing, excluding that of banks owned by the taxpayer, was at £87.3bn in the financial year, down from £98.4bn in the financial year ending 2014.

In March, borrowing was £7.4bn, falling £0.4bn from March 2014.

The ONS also said that public sector debt was £1.484 trillion (80.4% of GDP) at the end of the financial year, up £82.2bn from March 2014.

The figures will come as a boost to the Conservatives in the run-up to the general election.

The Institute of Fiscal Studies responded by saying that public sector debt would be £90bn lower under a Tory government than a Labour government, if the party achieved its tax and spending plans.

That would be dependent on the Conservatives winning a majority government, however. In one of the most tightly fought elections in history, it is widely accepted that either the Conservatives or Labour would have to enter a coalition to form a government. If that were to happen, some of the Conservatives' tax and spending plans wouldn't go through.

Sumita Shah, ICAEW Public Sector Policy Manager, said: “It is always good news to see borrowing fall, so to see a decrease of over £11bn in the last financial year suggests that progress is being made in reducing our deficit. A major challenge in fixing our public finances has recently been generating sufficient tax receipts, so the 3% rise in these is helping redress the balance. In particular, rises in income and corporation taxes have more than offset the fall in stamp duty revenue that arose from the changes in the Autumn Statement.

“Whoever forms the next Government will have to face up to the stark reality of the UK’s fiscal position. So it is imperative that in the next parliament the Treasury is urgently transformed into a modern finance ministry capable of enforcing fiscal discipline across Whitehall, which would work to deliver value for money throughout our public services.”