UK debt up £333bn to £2.13 trillion; 99% of GDP

The UK’s public sector net debt rose £333.5 billion in the first nine months of the financial year to reach £2.13 trillion at the end of December 2020, according to latest figures from the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The £2.13 trillion debt is around 99.4% of UK GDP — the highest UK debt to GDP ratio since the financial year ending 1962.

“The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had a substantial impact on the economy and subsequently on public sector borrowing and debt,” said the ONS.

“Central government tax and national insurance receipts (combined) in the nine months-to-December 2020 fell by £39.6 billion (or 7.8%) compared with the same period in 2019, while government support for individuals and businesses during the pandemic contributed to an increase of £169.3 billion (or 30.7%) in central government day-to-day (or current) spending.”

UK public sector net borrowing is estimated to have been £34.1 billion in December 2020 — £28.2 billion more than in December 2019 — which is both the highest December borrowing and the third-highest borrowing in any month since monthly records began in 1993.

UK central government bodies are estimated to have spent £86.2 billion on day-to-day activities in December 2020, £26.1 billion more than in December 2019, with this growth including £10 billion additional expenditure on coronavirus job support schemes.

UK public sector net borrowing in the first nine months of this financial year (April to December 2020) is estimated to have been £270.8 billion — £212.7 billion more than in the same period last year and the highest public sector borrowing in any April to December period since records began in 1993.

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