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Public sector debt surges rapidly by more than £300 billion since the start of April 2020

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It has emerged that the public sector debt has risen rapidly by more than £300billion since the start of April 2020. This news comes as reports emerge that Rishi Sunak could be set to extend the furlough scheme past the end of March deadline possibly until the summer.  

The Office for National Statistics has released data this morning that shows that £316.4billion has been added to the UK’s debt since the onset of the pandemic, in spring last year. This means that overall state debt has now hit another record high and is now above £2.1trillion. 

The government has borrowed record sums throughout the pandemic. The latest ONS numbers show that £9billion was borrowed in January 2021. This is the first January deficit recorded by the ONS in a decade and is the highest borrowing figure for the month of January since 1993. The total state debt now accrued stands at 98% of gross domestic product. This is a debt level not seen since the early 1960s.  

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In response to these figures, Mr Sunak has said: ‘Since the start of the pandemic we’ve invested over £280 billion to protect jobs, businesses and livelihoods across the UK – this is the fiscally responsible thing to do and the best way to support sustainable public finances in the medium term. We’ve been able to respond comprehensively and generously through this crisis because of our strong public finances. Therefore, it’s right that once our economy begins to recover, we should look to return the public finances to a more sustainable footing and I’ll always be honest with the British people about how we will do this’.

Jonathan Athow who is the deputy national statistician for economic statistics at the ONS has said: ‘The latest national lockdown led to a sharp monthly fall in January’s retail sales, with April 2020 the only month on record to see a bigger slump. Department and clothing store sales were particularly affected this month’.

This content was sourced from Unity News Network.

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