The UK's borrowing will be £11 billion below forecast this year thanks to stronger tax revenues and lower unemployment than first feared, Chancellor Alistair Darling has said.
The £167 billion forecast for 2009/10 - although still a record by some distance - falls short of the £178 billion predicted in his December Pre-Budget Report.
In his latest budget, Mr Darling added that the UK's overall debt would be £100 billion less than expected by 2013/14 as a result of the Government's measures to protect the economy.
Meanwhile, the Government's 50% bank bonus tax has already raised £2 billion for the UK public purse.
The windfall tax - introduced on bank bonuses above £25,000 - had raised far more than the £550 million originally expected.
Mr Darling reiterated support for a global levy on the banking sector, but said the UK should not go it alone in introducing a new bank tax.
In pledging to recover money forked out by taxpayers to help the banking sector, Mr Darling added that more than £8 billion in fees and charges had been received from banks in return for support during the financial crisis.
HSBC said on releasing annual figures that it will pay £232 million on the tax, while Barclays is paying £225 million and part-nationalised Royal Bank of Scotland is footing a £208 million bonus bill.
Mr Darling added that the Government will get back the money spent on bailing out RBS, Lloyds Banking Group and Northern Rock. He said: "We will sell our shares in RBS, Lloyds and Northern Rock in a way that maximises returns to the taxpayer. We intend to get taxpayers' money back," he added.
Mr Darling called for the levy to be brought forward quickly to address the mammoth amounts of public cash pumped into the sector around the world, while he also urged international reforms on the amount of capital reserves held by banks to prevent future bail- outs.