Britain govt borrowing in Q-1 exceeds predictions
LONDON (UK) – The UK government’s borrowing in Q-1 was six times higher than before the outbreak of the coronavirus, said official data on Wednesday and this brings the public debt to its highest level since 1960.
Public borrowing in September alone totalled 36.101 billion pounds, above all forecasts in a poll of economists, although August’s figure was revised down by more than 5 billion pounds to 30.113 billion pounds.
The increased borrowing took total public debt further above the 2 trillion pound mark to 2.060 trillion pounds or 103.5% of GDP, its highest on this measure since 1960, the Office for National Statistics said.
Driven by a surge in coronavirus-related spending and a fall in tax revenue after the biggest economic hit since at least the 1920s, borrowing from April to September totalled 208.5 billion pounds, over six times more than for the same time in 2019.
Britain’s Office for Budget Responsibility predicted in August that borrowing would reach a record 372 billion pounds by the end of this financial year, equivalent to 18.9% of gross domestic product, the most since World War Two.
Borrowing to date is below what the OBR pencilled in for this point in the tax year, though the ONS data does not yet include the cost of defaults on government-backed COVID loans which the OBR has factored in.
Spending risks rising again in the second half of the financial year as lockdown restrictions return to much of the United Kingdom, pressuring the government to offer extra support to closed businesses and their workers.