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COVID-19: Fight against virus forces government to borrow at £ 303 billion – highest level since records began | Economic news

The demands of the coronavirus crisis on public funds have forced the government to borrow at its highest annual amount on record, official figures show.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said a net borrowing of £ 24.3 billion in March – a month the Chancellor revealed a budget who pledged continued support for the public health effort and extended protections to keep the economy going COVID-19[female[feminine restrictions.

Figures showed the latest sum brought borrowing to £ 303.1 billion for the full year 2020/21, or 14.5% of GDP.

The ONS said it marked the highest annual total since 1947 – when comparable records began – although it was well below the £ 355 billion forecast last month by the Office for Budget Responsibility ( OBR).

The start of the fiscal year was dominated by the crisis as the UK had just entered its first pandemic lockdown, forcing many parts of the economy into spring hibernation as the NHS battled the surge in admissions to the hospital.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak was forced to make 15 separate announcements during the period as a whole, with at least £ 280 billion spent to tackle the crisis.

The sum includes additional funds for the health service, testing and traceability, vaccines and support programs, including the job retention program, or leave, as well as loans and grants for businesses. .

The leave scheme alone cost nearly £ 60 billion and still supported five million jobs as of this month.

The ONS said the £ 303.1bn borrowing amount followed a £ 57bn deficit in the previous fiscal year.

This meant the country had a net debt of £ 2.14 billion – the highest proportion of GDP since the 1960s.

Mr. Sunak used his last budget, in March, to point out that some targeted tax increases were on track to help reduce the deficit, including by freezing the personal income tax allowance.

But he said the focus will be on supporting the growth of the economy as it is expected to rebound from 2020 …

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This notice was published: 2021-04-23 05:10:00