Government borrowing swelled to £25.6 billion last month amid the cost of energy support schemes, higher benefit payments and rising debt interest, according to official figures.
The Office for National Statistics said it was the second-highest April borrowing on record, outstripped only by the pandemic-impacted month in 2020.
It represented an £11.9 billion rise compared with the same month last year.
The latest figure was £7.7 billion bigger than economists had predicted and £3.1 billion larger than predictions from the Government’s official forecaster, the Officer for Budget Responsibility.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt said: “It is right we borrowed billions to protect families and businesses against the impacts of the pandemic and (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s energy crisis.
“But debt and borrowing remain too high now – which is why it’s one of our priorities to get debt falling.
“We’ve taken difficult but necessary decisions to balance the nation’s books, and if we stick to our plan and get our economy growing, then debt is set to fall.”