By Jonathan Davies

The UK's public sector finances show an £8.8 billion surplus in January, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The surplus from tax receipts is almost double the £4.7bn recorded in January 2014. The figures show that public sector borrowing in the financial year so far is £74bn, £6bn less than at this point last year.

This isn't a significant sign of the government bringing down the deficit, however. January typically shows a surplus due to people completing self-assessment tax returns.

The government's full-year target for borrowing is £91.3bn.

The government says it is on course to meet its target, despite looking likely to over-borrow for the majority of 2014.

Chancellor George Osborne said: "In a week of economic milestones, today we learn that January saw the largest monthly surplus in the public finances since the crisis, putting us on track to meet our borrowing forecasts and halve the deficit as a share of GDP this year."

Sumita Shah, ICAEW Public Sector Policy Manager, said: “It is reassuring to see that self-assessed income tax receipts increased by £1.7bn compared with the previous year. Rising employee earnings growth should also help pave the way for an increase in income tax receipts. However, public sector net debt has increased by £86.1bn compared with a year ago, and rising tax receipts alone won’t eliminate the deficit. We’re looking at some deep government spending cuts in the next parliament."