Government borrows more than expected in October

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Government borrowing in October was higher than expected, largely pushed up by higher benefit payments, official figures show.

Borrowing - the difference between spending and tax income - was £14.9bn, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

That was up £4.4bn from a year earlier and the second highest October figure since monthly records began in 1993.

It comes as the chancellor prepares to announce his Autumn Statement.

Responding to the latest statistics, Jeremy Hunt said he would continue to support the Bank of England to drive inflation down to 2%.

"That means being responsible with the nation's finances," he added.

October's figure was higher than the £13.7bn forecast by the UK's fiscal watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), which is the first time borrowing has surpassed its predictions this financial year.

The ONS said the government had borrowed £98.3bn in total since the start of the financial year.

That is £21.9bn more than a year earlier, but less than the £115.2bn that was forecast by the OBR in March.

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