OFFICIAL figures showing UK Government borrowing rose unexpectedly last month show that “austerity has failed” and that a change of course is required, according to the SNP’s economy spokeswoman at Westminster.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said yesterday that public-sector net borrowing, excluding state-owned banks, increased by £2 billion to £6.9bn in June compared with the same month last year.

This rise is expected to hamper efforts to shore up public finances as the UK economy looks set to slow.

The SNP’s Kirsty Blackman said the Tory Government’s austerity agenda had hit society’s most vulnerable while failing to achieve its supposed goal of erasing the country’s deficit “These figures show that austerity has failed,” she said. “The Tory Government has slashed social security, which supports the most vulnerable, for no gain. The UK Government needs to recognise that they’ve caused families to have to choose between feeding their children and heating their homes.

“They’ve caused untold damage by cutting payments to disabled people and forcing them to go through humiliating assessments. Yet despite all the pain the UK Government has caused, public finances have deter-iorated. It must now change course.”

Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell added to the criticism of Tory austerity: “Seven years of Tory cuts have left our economy weaker, with falling wages, yet the deficit has not been eliminated two years after they claimed it would be, and the national debt continues to rise.

“The Chancellor should stop handing out massive tax giveaways to big businesses and the super-rich, and instead give our hard-pressed public-sector workers a pay rise, so we can end the travesty in our country of nurses having to rely on food banks.”

Theresa May has vowed to deliver a balanced budget by the “middle of the next decade’’, contrary to the Chancellor Philip Hammond’s target of moving public finances into the black by the end of the decade.

Hammond already faces an uphill battle to bring the deficit down, as consumer spending is squeezed by high inflation and sluggish wage growth threatening to drag on the Government’s tax income.

The ONS said the budget deficit for the current financial year to date – April to June 2017 – climbed by £1.9bn to £22.8bn compared with the same period last year. It expects the Government to record a deficit of £58.3bn for the financial year to March 2018.

Public-sector net debt excluding state-owned banks jumped by £128.5bn to £1.75 trillion, equivalent to 87.4 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).

The latest update on the budget deficit comes just a week after the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) flagged the potential threats to public finances in its first Fiscal Risks report.

Putting the public finances through the same stress tests faced by banks, the fiscal watchdog said the Government’s fiscal targets “would be missed by a large margin’’.

It added that the UK’s debt is higher than it was before the banking crisis, meaning the UK’s financial position was “much more sensitive’’ to higher inflation and interest rates.

Brexit could exacerbate potential financial shocks, the OBR added, while highlighting the risk of higher public spending if the Government responds to “austerity fatigue’’.

Responding to June’s borrowing announcement, a Treasury spokesman said: “Today’s release shows that our national debt, at £65,000 for every household, is still too high and leaves us vulnerable to any future shocks.

“That is why we have a credible fiscal plan to get debt falling and deliver the sound public finances needed for a stronger economy and higher living standards.”