UK national debt hits highest October level on record

Government borrowing in October hit a record level for the month as the UK continued heavy spending to support the economy during the Covid pandemic.

Borrowing makes up the shortfall between spending by the government and the amount received in taxes.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said borrowing, excluding state-owned banks, reached £22.3 billion last month, the highest October figure since monthly records began in 1993.

ONS said the pandemic had had a "substantial effect" on public sector borrowing.

Since the beginning of the financial year in April, government borrowing has reached £214.9 billion – the highest in any April to October period on record and £169.1bn more than a year ago.

The independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has estimated it could reach £372.2bn by the end of the financial year in March.

The increase in borrowing has led to sharp increase in the national debt, which now stands at £2.08 trillion, larger than the size of the economy.

The Treasury is trying to bolster public finances after the huge rise in spending to fight coronavirus.

The chancellor Rishi Sunak said: "We've provided over £200bn of support to protect the economy, lives and livelihoods from the significant and far reaching impacts of coronavirus.

This is the responsible thing to do, but it's also clear that over time it's right we ensure the public finances are put on a sustainable path."


Posted on Nov 20, 2020.

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