Britain reported its biggest budget surplus for the month of July in 18 years on Tuesday, giving finance minister Philip Hammond some extra room for manoeuvre as he faces pressure to relax his grip on spending later this year.
The surplus, excluding state-controlled banks, stood at 2.0 billion pounds ($2.6 billion), more than double the figure in July last year and well above a median forecast of 1.1 billion pounds in a Reuters poll of economists, official data showed.
The improvement was driven by strong seasonal inflows of income tax, and reduced the deficit for the first four months of the financial year to 12.8 billion pounds, down 40 percent from the same period of last year.
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