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Britain’s debt hits record 152.8 billion pounds: official

Britain’s public net borrowing, or debt, hit a record 152.8 billion pounds in the 12 months to March, official data showed on Thursday, but this was below the government’s forecast ahead of an election.

The office for national statistics said the borrowing amount was 65.9 billion pounds higher than in the same period of 2008/09, as a record recession slammed the country’s tax revenues.

Finance minister Alistair Darling, whose Labour Party is fighting to remain in power, had recently forecast that public net borrowing was set to hit a record 167 billion pounds in 2009-2010.

Cutting public debt, while not choking off recovery, is at the heart of campaigning ahead of Britain’s general election on May 6.