The chart that shows the UK Government looks set to miss its borrowing target

Osborne has already missed his 2010 election pledge to cut the deficit by 2015

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The Independent Online

George Osborne must borrow less than £7 billion in the final two months of the financial year in order to meet his near-term borrowing goals, in an early sign that the Government's promise to close Britain's deficit by 2019-20 might be running off course.

The Office for Budget Responsibility, the UK's fiscal watchdog, said at the end of last year that Osborne would have to keep borrowing to £73.5 billion in the 2015/16 financial year to be on course for an overall surplus by the end of the decade.

The Government borrowed £66.5 billion between April and January, leaving less than £7 billion of fiscal space for the final two months of the year if it is to meet the OBR's forecast. That's less than half the £14.8 billion borrowed in the same period last year.

Osborne warns of economic risk

Osborne has already missed his 2010 election pledge to eradicate the deficit by 2015. His chance of finishing the job by 2020 is now in doubt.

While deficit represents the difference between income from tax receipts and state spending over a period of time, debt represents the total amount of money owed at a point in time. UK debt continues to increase because there is still a deficit.

It was pushed up further by the Government's decision to reclassify housing association as public sector bodies, which added £60 billion to the debt.

Bumper tax receipts in January have pushed public finances into a surplus of £11.2 billion in January, the largest surplus since 2008. Tax receipts are strong in January because of self-assessment tax receipts, the OBR said, but usually return to a deficit in February and March. 

State spending, already squeezed under Osborne, may need to be cut more if Obsorne is to stick to his promise to balance Britain's books by 2020.