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UK borrows £62bn in April to fight pandemic

Mohit Oberoi
Author: Mohit Oberoi

Last Updated: May 22, 2020

The UK government borrowed a record £62bn in April as the coronavirus pandemic takes a toll on economies across the world.

The April borrowing is more than the budgeted deficit for the full year.

The Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts UK government’s borrowing for the whole year will hit £298bn. That would be five times what was budged for the year. Jonathan Athow, the deputy national statistician at the Office for National Statistics, termed the April borrowing as “pretty much unprecedented.”

Athow also referred to “high amounts of uncertainty.” Government tax receipts are falling, even as it financially supports individuals and businesses through the pandemic.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak (pictured) said: “We’ve taken unprecedented steps to provide lifelines to people and businesses with our furlough scheme, grants, loans and tax cuts.”

The pandemic has led to a reversal in the UK government’s fiscal tightening policy, in line with most government’s around the world it has moved to bolster its shocked economy. According to the IMF, governments globally have announced $9trn worth of stimulus to shore up their economies.

“We have to come to terms with the fact that Britain is poorer and the economy is smaller than it would have been,” former chancellor George Osborne told the BBC.

Meanwhile, borrowings should ease now as business activity is gradually restarting. Also, interest rates have fallen and many expect them to enter the negative territory. Lower interest rates make borrowing cheaper.

Charlie McCurdy, a researcher at the Resolution Foundation, said: “Record low interest rates mean the UK’s higher debt burden should remain more than manageable.”

Note: These are testing times for individuals. If you’re interested in raising finance to see you through this tough period, see our list of recommended loan providers. We’ve also compiled a list of loan providers for people with bad credit.

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Mohit Oberoi

Mohit Oberoi is a freelance finance writer based in India. he has completed his MBA with finance as majors and also holds a CFA charter. He has over 13 years of experience in financial markets. He has been writing extensively on global markets for the last six years and has written over 6,500 articles. He mainly covers metals, electric vehicles, asset managers, and other macroeconomic news. He also loves writing on personal finance and topics related to valuation.