The UK’s national debt hit a record £2.1 trillion at the end of September, an increase of £259.6 billion in the six-month period, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), during this period, borrowing equated to 103.5% of gross domestic product (GDP).

Borrowing in the first six months of this financial year is estimated to have been £208.5bn, £174.5bn more than in the same period last year and the highest borrowing in any April to September period since records began in 1993.

Extra finance was required to support businesses and pay furlough wages.

The Government is expected to have spent £4.9bn on coronavirus job retention scheme (CJRS) and £1bn in self-employed income support scheme payments.

The ONS also revealed tax income increased, resulting in lower corporate profits and spending, with the Government receiving less in corporation tax and VAT.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said:

“While it’s clear the pandemic has had a significant impact on our public finances, things would have been far worse had we not acted in the way we did to protect millions of livelihoods.

“Over time and as the economy recovers, the Government will take the necessary steps to ensure the long-term health of the public finances.”

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