Chancellor looks set to borrow less than feared this year – but deficit remains on course to be biggest since Second World War
Chancellor Rishi Sunak looks set to borrow a little less than feared this year – but the deficit remains on course to be by far the biggest since the Second World War.
The Government borrowed a record £19.1billion last month as the cost of Covid continued to mount.
It took borrowing for the first 11 months of the financial year to £278.8billion and drove the national debt to £2.13trillion.
Spending spree: Chancellor Rishi Sunak looks set to borrow a little less than feared this year
The Office for Budget Responsibility said that the full-year deficit was now likely to be lower than the £355billion it forecast just two weeks ago.
However, it will still be the largest as a proportion of national income since the war.
Neil Birrell, chief investment officer at asset manager Premier Miton, described the borrowing figures as ‘frightening’.
Sunak has warned that the total bill for supporting the economy through Covid will hit £407billion as the cost of measures such as the furlough scheme and tax breaks mount.
Responding to the latest figures, he said: ‘Coronavirus has caused one of the largest economic shocks this country has ever faced, which is why we responded with our package of support to protect lives and livelihoods.
‘But I have always said that we should look to return the public finances to a more sustainable path once the economy has recovered, and at the Budget I set out how we will begin to do just that.’