The coronavirus pandemic pushed UK borrowing to £35.9bn in August 2020, the third highest figure in any month since records began in 1993.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that UK debt hit £2.02 trillion in August, £249.5bn more than the same time in 2019. UK debt exceeded £2 trillion for the first time in history in July due to the impact of the pandemic.
Borrowing between April to August 2020 hit £173.7bn – which is also a record. The figure for the first five months of the year was £146.9bn more than in the same period last year and the highest borrowing in any April to August period since records began in 1993.
It comes as Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a wage subsidy plan on Thursday in a bid to stave off mass unemployment over the next few months as part of his multi-billion pound “winter economy plan”.
“The resurgence of the virus, and the measures we need to take in response, pose a threat to our fragile economic recovery,” Sunak said. “Our approach to the next phase of support must be different to that which came before.”
He said during a press conference following his announcement that there would be “difficult times to come” and the Treasury department was ready “to do more as the situation evolves”: “This is an unprecedented situation,” he said. “It requires a bold response.”
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