By Daniel Hunter

The Office for National Statistics has said that UK public sector net borrowing was £12.8bn in September, down from £13.5bn in the same month last year.

The figure is lower than analysts had been expecting, while previous months' figures for this financial year were revised down by a total of £6.7bn

August's record figure of £14.4bn was revised down to £12.8bn.

"The Chancellor will have sighed with relief at the reduction in the budget deficit," Jason Conibear, trading director of the forex specialists Cambridge Mercantile, commented.

"But this data is far from a straightforward validation of his swingeing austerity measures.

"The country's net level of debt continues to march upwards, piling on an eye-watering £93 billion in a year.

"It now stands at more than two thirds of GDP. The government is borrowing less than at this time last year, but the total debt is still racking up.

"Paid-up members of the austerity tribe will no doubt trumpet the deficit reduction as a vindication of the government's public spending cuts.

"Certainly it's likely to improve the UK's chances of maintaining its AAA credit rating, and bolster Sterling.

"But while Plan A is a fine idea in theory, the Chancellor's obsessive focus on deficit reduction risks distracting him from the underperforming economy as a whole.

"When austerity is merely an article of blind faith and not an economic instrument, something is badly wrong."

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