Britain saw its smallest budget deficit for any September in the last 10 years, according to official figures.
Last month’s deficit stood at £5.902bn, down almost 11% compared with the same month last year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
With many economists having forecast a deficit of about £6.5bn, the news will be a boost for Chancellor Philip Hammond ahead of next month’s Budget.
The deficit for August was also revised down by about £1bn to £4.716bn
September’s figures marked the third straight month in which UK public finances were better than analysts had forecast.
The ONS said public sector net debt, excluding state-owned banks, had increased by £145.2bn since September last year to £1,785.3bn, equivalent to 87.2% of gross domestic product.
A Treasury spokesman said: “Whilst we’ve made great progress getting the deficit down by over two thirds, government borrowing is still far too high at over £150m a day.
“We will continue to take a balanced approach that deals with our debts and allows us to invest in our public services.”