British government borrowing surged to a record 128 billion pounds ($162 billion) in the first three months of the 2020/21 financial year, when COVID-19 lockdown measures were tightest, more than double the entire previous year’s borrowing.
Most economists think British government borrowing this year will be its largest since World War Two relative to the size of the economy.
Borrowing in June, excluding state-owned banks, was 35.5 billion pounds, the government statistics office said. That was five times more than a year earlier though below economists’ average forecast of 41.5 billion pounds in a Reuters poll, following a big downward revision for May.
April, May and June made up the three highest months of borrowing in Britain’s history, even though spending on job support was lower than first estimated, and tax revenues higher, the Office for National Statistics said.
“Borrowing is still rising at an exceptional rate and we suspect that a slowdown in the recovery and further rise in unemployment later this year will prompt the government to announce additional fiscal spending at the next Budget,” said Thomas Pugh, UK economist at Capital Economics.