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Public sector net borrowing hits £22.3bn in October as debt pile grows

Written by on 20 November 2020

Public sector net borrowing is estimated to have been GBP22.3bn in October – the sixth-highest borrowing in any month since monthly records began in 1993.

The figure, from the Office for National Statistics, means that public sector net debt stood at GBP2.076trn by the end of October – or 100.8% of GDP, a level not seen for many decades.

This was an increase of GBP276.3bn across the first seven months of the financial year, mostly due to the massive cost of supporting workers and businesses through the coronavirus pandemic.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak, said: “We’ve provided over GBP200bn 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.”

Borrowing for the first seven months of the financial year is estimated to have been GBP214.9bn – the highest in any April to October period and the sixth-highest borrowing in any month since records began in 1993.

The Office for Budget Responsibility will publish its first forecast of borrowing for this year and next on 25 November.

Borrowing is currently cheap but the Bank of England has warned that some long-term economic damage is likely, even after the pandemic is over.