Public sector borrowing has soared because of the coronavirus pandemic
Public sector debt has breached £2 trillion for the first time, as Government borrowing hit £26.7 billion in July, according to new figures.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said borrowing for last month was £28.3 billion more than the same time last year, and the fourth highest since records began in 1993,
as the Government throws billions at the economy to try to help it through the Covid-19 pandemic.
This latest borrowing pushed debt to around £2,004 billion for the first time ever, and means that the public sector debt is higher than gross domestic product (GDP)
This records shows that the end of July marked was the first time that the UK’s debt was more than its gross domestic product since 1961.
Debt reached 100.5% of GDP at the end of July, the first time it had risen above 100% since 1961, the ONS experts said.
Reaction from Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak
“This crisis has put the public finances under significant strain as we have seen a hit to our economy and taken action to support millions of jobs, businesses and livelihoods”
“Without that support things would have been far worse”.
“Today’s figures are a stark reminder that we must return our public finances to a sustainable footing over time, which will require taking difficult decisions”.
“It is also why we are taking action now to support the growth and jobs which pay for our public services, by helping businesses to reopen safely and, through our Plan For Jobs, protecting, supporting and creating jobs to ensure that nobody is left without hope.”
In other data, online sales fell 7% in July compared with June, as more shoppers felt confident returning to the high street, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The ONS added that overall retail sales volumes rose 3.6% in July compared with June and are now 3% above pre-pandemic levels in February.
Fuel sales remain low – down 11.7% compared with February – but are recovering as more trips resume, it said.