HIKE IN UK PUBLIC SECTOR BORROWING Chancellor blames ‘eye-watering sums’ spent on pandemic and energy bills support
Initial estimates for March show that the public sector spent more than it received in taxes and other income, requiring it to borrow £21.5bn.
The chancellor has blamed the “eye-watering sums” spent on helping people through the coronavirus pandemic and energy crisis for an increase in public sector borrowing.
Public sector net borrowing was £21.5bn last month – the second-highest March borrowing since monthly records began in 1993.
This means that the public sector spent more than it received in taxes and other income, requiring it to borrow the shortfall.
The amount also capped off the fourth-highest borrowing for a financial year since records began – £139.2bn, or 5.5% of GDP.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt blamed the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise in energy prices, which was worsened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
He said: “These numbers reflect the inevitable consequences of borrowing eye-watering sums to help families and businesses through a pandemic and Putin’s energy crisis.
“We were right to do so because we have managed to keep unemployment at a near-record low and provided the average family more than £3,000 in cost of living support this year and last.