UK Govt borrowing tops £270bn in 10 months

The UK Government’s borrowing climbed to £270.6 billion in the first 10 months of this financial year — that’s £222 billion more than in the same period last year and the highest public sector borrowing in any April to January period since records began in 1993.

The UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on Friday public sector net borrowing is estimated to have been £8.8 billion in January 2021 — the highest January borrowing since monthly records began in 1993 and the first January deficit for 10 years.

UK central government tax receipts are estimated to have been £63.2 billion in January 2021, £0.8 billion lower than in January 2020, with notable falls in taxes on production such as value added tax (VAT) and business rates.

UK public sector net debt rose by £316.4 billion over the first 10 months of this financial year to reach £2.1 trillion at the end of January 2021, or around 97.9% of gross domestic product (GDP) — maintaining a level not seen since the early 1960s.

The UK’s Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) said: “Year-to-date borrowing has reached £271 billion, far exceeding the pre-virus annual record set at the height of the financial crisis in 2009-10 (£158 billion) …

“Public sector net borrowing (PSNB) totalled £8.8 billion in January, £16.2 billion below market expectations.

“Borrowing over the first ten months of the year reached £270.6 billion. This is lower than assumed in our November forecast, but much of this shortfall reflects statistical issues, with write-offs associated with pandemic loan schemes not yet featuring in the data.

“On a like-for-like basis, PSNB (ex-write offs) is still below forecast due to lower-than-expected central government spending and higher receipts (particularly from self-assessment taxes).”