The government recorded its first surplus in the month of July since 2002, welcome news for finance minister Philip Hammond in what still looks likely to be a difficult financial year for the government.
The surplus was boosted by a 10.6-percent year-on-year rise in self-assessed income tax receipts from individuals in July, a month that often sees a spike in these returns.
But the year as a whole looks less promising, as last year's vote to leave the European Union has pushed up inflation and related borrowing costs, and led to slower growth since the start of 2017
The size of the deficit, which the chancellor has committed to eliminating by the middle of the next decade, is still on course to rise year-on-year.
The Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts that borrowing will rise to £58.3bn this financial year, compared to £45.1bn in the year ending in March.
British factories expect further strong growth over the next three months after a pick-up in orders, though consumers are likely to feel greater pressure from higher prices, an industry survey reported yesterday.
Expectations for the volume of output over the next three months were the highest since March - showing manufacturers expect similar growth to the previous three months.
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