UK debt exceeds 100 pct of GDP for first time since 1961

21 Jun 2023 03:07pm
Image for illustrative purposes only. - FILE PIX
Image for illustrative purposes only. - FILE PIX
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LONDON, UK - The UK’s debt pile reached more than 100 per cent of economic output for the first time since 1961 as government borrowing more than doubled in May, according to official figures, reported PA Media/dpa.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said net debt reached £2.6 trillion (US$3.3 trillion) as of the end of May, estimated at 100.1 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).

It is the first time the debt-to-GDP ration has risen above 100% since March 1961, except for during the pandemic, but this was later revised lower due to stronger GDP figures.

It came as government borrowing soared to £20 billion in May, pushed higher by the cost of energy support schemes.

May’s borrowing figure was £10.7 billion higher than a year ago and the second-highest May borrowing since monthly records began in 1993.

Economists had predicted borrowing of £19.5 billion for May.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the government has been taking "difficult decisions” to balance the books following the pandemic and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

"We rightly spent billions to protect families and businesses from the worst impacts of the pandemic and Putin’s energy crisis,” he said.

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"But it would be manifestly unfair to leave future generations with a tab they cannot repay.

"That’s why we have taken difficult but necessary decisions to balance the books in order to halve inflation this year, grow the economy and reduce debt.” - BERNAMA-PA MEDIA/dpa

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