UK Govt borrows record £62bn in April amid coronavirus crisis

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LONDON: Government borrowing surged to £62.1 billion to April – the highest figure for any month on record – after heavy spending in the face of coronavirus, according to new figures. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said public sector borrowing – excluding banks owned by the state – was £51.1 billion higher than the same month last year.

The figure is significantly higher than analysts had predicted, with a consensus of economists predicting £30.7 billion for the month.

Meanwhile, borrowing by the state in March 2020 has been revised up by £11.7 billion to £14.7 billion by the ONS.

It said this was driven by a reduction in previous estimates of tax receipts and National Insurance contributions.

It comes after the Chancellor stepped up financial support for businesses and employees after vast areas of the economy were forced to halt due to the coronavirus lockdown.

As a result of the jump in borrowing, public sector debt rose to £1,887.6 billion at the end of April – £118.4 billion higher than April 2019. The ONS said that the Government borrowed £62.7 billion over the 12 months to the end of March, representing a £22.5 billion rise on the previous year. Last month, it jumped £9.3 billion to a higher-than-forecast £48.7 billion in the financial year to March 31.