Government hits George Osborne deficit target two years late
The deficit reduction target set by George Osborne has finally been achieved two years than planned, official figures have found.
The Office for National Statistics said the Government had eliminated the deficit on its day-to-day budget - the target originally set by the former Chancellor when he took office in 2010.
The boost to the country’s finances meant the Treasury was in surplus on the 2017 budget, when excluding capital investment.
At its height the current budget deficit hit £99.6bn in 2009, and has dropped every year other than 2012.
In 2016 it was £20.7bn, and in 2017 it moved to a surplus of £3.8bn, as first reported by the Financial Times.
Ministers had been forced to push the deadline back repeatedly amid disappointing growth and pressure to rein in some cuts.
Mr Osborne, who promised a major reduction in spending and no more new borrowing by 2015 when he first took office, praised the results on Twitter.
He was joined by former Prime Minister David Cameron, who said setting the goal was "the right thing to do".
Paul Johnson, of the Institute of Fiscal Studies, told the Financial Times: “It’s quite an achievement given how poor economic growth has been.
“They have stuck at it, but deficit reduction has come at the cost of an unprecedented squeeze in public spending.”