Government borrowing in September was lower than most economists had expected but remains high, figures show.
Borrowing - the difference between spending and tax income - was £14.3bn last month.
This was £1.6bn less than a year earlier, but the sixth highest in September since records began in 1993.
The statistics come ahead of the Autumn Statement in November, but so far the chancellor has downplayed the possibility of any tax cuts.
Economists had predicted government borrowing to be £18.3bn last month, while the Office for Budget Responsibility had forecast the level to be £20.5bn.
The better-than-expected numbers from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have prompted some, such as the right-leaning Institute of Economic Affairs think tank, to suggest there is now room for "some well-targeted tax cuts" in the Autumn Statement.