Britain recorded a bigger-than-expected budget deficit of 21.53 billion pounds ($26.87 billion) in March, official data showed on Tuesday, capping off the fourth-highest borrowing for a financial year since records started.

A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to public sector net borrowing, excluding state-owned banks, of 20 billion pounds.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported borrowing of 139.2 billion pounds for the 2022/23 financial that ended in March, or 5.5% of gross domestic product.

Last month, the Office for Budget Responsibility - whose forecasts are used by the government - said borrowing for 2022/23 as a whole would be 152.4 billion pounds, or 6.1% of economic output, before dropping to 5.1% in 2023/24.

The ONS said its estimate for 2022/23 did not represent final data and would be revised in the months ahead. ($1 = 0.8012 pounds) (Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar and Andy Bruce Editing by William Schomberg)