By Simon Miller

The UK government has hit its borrowing target despite increase in March according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS said that public sector net borrowing, excluding financial sector interventions, rose last month to £18.17bn from £17.95bn in March 2011. Despite the rise, this took borrowing in the 2011/12 fiscal year to £125.97bn just below the £126bn target.

As a percentage of GDP, this also fell in line with forecasts at 8.3% in 2011/12 from 9.27% in 2010/11.

However, public sector net debt rose to its highest level since records began in 1993 at £1.0225trn in March, the equivalent to 66% of GDP.

On Wednesday, official figures are expected to show that the UK economy has just missed a technical recession, with grow at 0.1% for the first three months of the year.

In a speech at the Institute of Fiscal Studies yesterday, the chief secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to its fiscal consolidation and set out new, tougher spending rules to ensure delivery of its spending plans.

Alexander commented: "They are another signal of our unwavering determination to deliver the fiscal consolidation we promised. It is this focus on delivery that is the cornerstone of our country’s credibility. Credibility, let us not forget, which is delivering the record low interest rates that are benefitting millions of families across the UK. That’s why, when we look at the mess Britain’s finances were allowed to get into, we say ‘never again.’"

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