This morning came more worrying news about the state of the nation's finances.

For the first time since records began in 1993, the Government has had to borrow money during the month of January – no less than £4.3 billion during last month.

The graph below, issued by the Tories, shows the severity of the Public Sector Net Borrowing figures as compared with previous Januaries:

Picture 23

Shadow Chief Secretary Philip Hammond has reiterated the Tories' call for immediate action to get the deficit under control.

“These appalling figures – showing the first January deficit on record – illustrate the scale of Labour’s debt crisis. Every British family faces a bill of £4800 to pay for Gordon Brown’s borrowing so far this financial year alone.

“We can’t go on like this. The Prime Minister must now heed the advice of leading economists and business leaders and set out a credible plan to get the deficit under control, starting this year to put Britain back on her feet. The longer he delays, the more the recovery and our credit rating will be put at risk.”

Jonathan Isaby