Britain's public finances showed an unexpected deficit in July, although a recovering economy means the government still looks likely to meet its goal of reducing borrowing this fiscal year.
Public borrowing on the government's preferred measure swung to a deficit of £62m sterling from a surplus of £823m the same time last year, the Office for National Statistics said.
This was the first shortfall for that month - which typically shows a surplus due to tax payments - since 2010 and compared with forecasts for £2.45 billion in the black.
It marks a blip in the deficit reduction plans that lies at the heart of the UK government's economic policies. When it came to power three years ago, Britain's budget deficit was 11% of annual output - one of the highest for a major economy.
But a growth upturn - illustrated today by an industry survey showing British manufacturers' order books looked in their best shape for two years in August - suggests the programme remains on schedule.
UK government receipts excluding £0.4 billion from the Bank of England rose 3.4% on the year in July, while spending grew 3.7%.
Stripping out one-off cash transfers from the Bank of England and Royal Mail, public borrowing totalled £36.8 billion in the first four months of the 2013-14 tax year, up slightly from a year earlier. On this underlying basis, ministers are aiming for a deficit of no more than £120 billion or 7.5% of GDP this tax year.
Analysts said tax inflows should improve as the year went on, with the economy showing growing signs of life.
Borrowing in the fiscal year to date jumped to £24.706 billion from £7.190 billion in the same four months a year ago.