UK borrowing ballooned by a higher than expected £11.4 billion in October, official figures showed today.
The record rise for the month takes public sector net borrowing for the financial year so far to £86.9 billion, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
The gloomy figures come a day after the Government unveiled a Fiscal Responsibility Bill - putting plans to halve the UK's deficit within four years on a statutory footing.
October is usually a strong month for the public finances due to corporation tax revenues, but the depth of the recession has hammered the Treasury's tax take.
The figures showed a record 13th successive month of declining current receipts - down 9 per cent to £41 billion - but spending on factors such as unemployment benefits has risen.
This has pushed up the Government's total current expenditure to £48.6 billion, while net debt has reached £829.7 billion - £134.6 billion higher than a year ago and equivalent to more than 59 per cent of GDP.
The Government says its new Bill demonstrates its commitment to putting the public finances in order, but the plans were lashed by Conservative leader David Cameron, who labelled it a "complete con".
Public borrowing is already forecast by the Treasury to reach £175 billion this year but the figures could have to be revised higher by Chancellor Alistair Darling in December's pre-budget.
This comes after the shock initial estimate of a 0.4 per cent decline in output between July and September when the economy was finally expected to pull out of recession.
Bank of England Governor Mervyn King last week called for a "credible plan" to restore the public finances as he said the UK had "only just started" down the road to recovery.
And fellow rate-setter Andrew Sentance warned this week: "It is likely to take five years or maybe more to get the current fiscal deficit down to more comfortable proportions."
Douglas McWilliams, chief executive of the Centre for Economics and Business Research, said borrowing could come close to £200 billion this year - well over target.
"Our view is that excess spending based on over-optimistic projections of tax receipts has been a root cause of the excess borrowing. All eyes will be on the Chancellor's Pre-Budget Report.
"With the UK's bond rating under scrutiny, it will be necessary to take action in the PBR that does not depend, as last year or in the Budget, on over-optimistic growth forecasts or on expectations of tax receipts from higher taxes on potential taxpayers, who in reality will turn out to be internationally mobile."Reuse content