UK Govt Borrowing Hits Highest In Decades

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United Kingdom’s Government borrowed a total of £19.1bn in February 2021, the highest for the month since records began in 1993.

The new record reflects the cost of supporting the UK’s economy during the pandemic.

Office for National Statistic (ONS) said the borrowing for the financial year to date – between April and February – has now reached £278.8bn, almost six times the amount borrowed in the same period last year.

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, said: “Coronavirus has caused one of the largest economic shocks this country has ever faced, which is why we responded with our £352bn packages of support to protect lives and livelihoods.

“This was the fiscally responsible thing to do and the best way to support the public finances in the medium term.”

Christine Jardine, the Treasury spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats, said that while the latest figures showed the scale of the challenge posed by the pandemic, “they can not be used as an excuse by the government to end support prematurely, and leave behind people and businesses struggling across the UK.”

“Thousands of small businesses are due to stay closed for months to come, and millions of people are still worried about their jobs. Yet the chancellor failed to provide them with long-term certainty and direct support in the Budget.”

Data released by the ONS further disclosed that the government spent £3.9bn last month on job support measures alone.

The report also revealed a fall in tax income, notably from lower VAT, business rates and fuel duty. Although it showed money coming in from self-employed tax payments increased by £900m from last year.

Total public sector debt climbed to £2.13 trillion to 97.5% of GDP, in February, the highest level since the early 1960s, according to the ONS.

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