The UK may need to raise almost £10bn less than expected from financial markets this year after its statisticians and the finance ministry discovered a raft of errors in a key measure of borrowing requirements.
The Office for National Statistics said errors in the finance ministry's reporting systems - largely linked to transfers from the Bank of England - meant the amount of money Britain needed to borrow since December 2012 had been overstated by £9.68bn ($15bn, €12bn), according to Reuters.
The mistakes in the calculation of the central government net cash requirement (CGNCR) - one of the longest-running pieces of government financial data - do not affect the measure against which the government's deficit reduction goals are benchmarked.
This means the discovery will not give Chancellor George Osborne a windfall to play with before May's General Election. Neither will it alleviate the problem of weaker-than-expected income tax revenue so far this year.
However, it does mean Britain will likely to need to raise much less money from financial markets between now and the end of March than previously stated – barring a sharp deterioration in the public finances in December's budget update.
The Debt Management Office said in April that it aimed to raise £141.2bn from markets by issuing £127.2bn of government bonds and a net £14bn of Treasury bills with maturities of a year and under, said Reuters.
The DMO deals with changes in how much Britain needs to borrow during the course of the year by altering the supply of Treasury bills, rather than gilts.
The DMO said on Wednesday 15 October that it would take the new borrowing needs into account when it gives an update on its debt issuance plans after Osborne delivers a budget update on 3 December.
It will also have to factor in new growth and borrowing forecasts from the government's fiscal watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility, which said income tax receipts were below forecast.