BORROWING by the UK government soared by billions of pounds during the past year, as the impact of the double- dip recession continued.
Public sector net borrowing, excluding financial interventions such as bank bail-outs, surged to £17.9 billion last month, up from £15.2bn during May the previous year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed.
The increase in the UK’s borrowing came alongside a 7.3 per cent fall in income tax receipts and an 11.7 per cent jump in welfare benefits, providing evidence that the struggling economy is piling pressure on the government’s already-stretched finances.
May’s public borrowing figure of £17.9bn was higher than many analysts’ expectations of about £14.8bn. with economists now suggesting Chancellor George Osborne would struggle to meet his target of trimming total borrowing in 2012-13 to £120bn.
Vicky Redwood, chief UK economist at Capital Economics, warned borrowing was on course to overshoot “significantly” the official full-year forecast of £120bn.
A Treasury spokesman said: “It is too early in the financial year to draw conclusions about the year as a whole.”