By Jonathan Davies

The UK government borrowed £13.1bn in December, up by £2.9bn compared with a year before, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The figures include a separate £2.9bn contribution to the European Union. The UK gets a £1.2bn refund on the contribution, leaving a bill of £1.7bn. You might remember to controversy surrounding the bill before Christmas.

The deadline has been deferred until this year, but it still appears in Decembers figures.

The ONS figures also showed that the UK government borrowed £86.3 billion between April and December. The government target for borrowing in the year to April 2015 is £91.3bn. It means that borrowing will need to be significantly reduced in the coming months to meet the target.

Sumita Shah, ICAEW Public Sector Policy Manager, said: “The figures show that the government is still struggling to get our public finances under control. Although tax receipts have increased compared to the same point in 2013, government expenditure has risen faster. So even though inflation and unemployment are down, the public sector net debt excluding financial interventions stands at £94.6bn higher than a year ago

“With four months to go until the General Election, the economy is going to be at the forefront of political debate. We would like to see a commitment from all parties in their manifestos pledging to transform the Treasury into a modern finance ministry to enforce fiscal discipline across Whitehall. Having a CFO at the Cabinet Table to monitor all income and expenditure would help to manage our public finances and deliver value for money throughout our public services.”

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