LONDON - A surge in debt costs pushed up by soaring inflation added to Britain's budget deficit last month which was its highest since April 2021, official data showed on Thursday.

The Office for National Statistics said public sector net borrowing excluding state-owned banks rose to 22.879 billion pounds ($27.44 billion) from 12.560 billion pounds in May.

A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a deficit of 23 billion pounds.

The figures showed Britain racked up debt interest of 19.4 billion pounds in June alone, more than double the previous record.

The ONS said the leap in debt costs reflected a big April increase in the retail prices index gauge of inflation which is the benchmark for index-linked government bonds.

In response to the data, finance minister Nadhim Zahawi said he recognised there were risks to the public finances, including from high inflation which struck a new 40-year high of 9.4% last month.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce, Editing by William Schomberg)