Chancellor Philip Hammond has been given cause to celebrate as official figures showed the Government logged its largest July surplus in 18 years.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show public sector net borrowing, excluding state-owned banks, was in surplus by £2bn in July, £1bn more than the surplus logged in July 2017. Economists had been expecting a surplus of £1.1bn. This was the largest July surplus since the year 2000.
Government coffers were bolstered by receipts on self-assessed income tax, which are usually higher in January and to a lesser extent in July.
The figures also showed that the deficit, excluding banks, in the current financial year to date was £12.8bn, which is £8.5bn less than during the same period in 2017.
But public sector net debt, excluding banks, rose by £17.5 bn to £1,777.5bn in July - 84.3 per cent of GDP.