UK debt climbs in June amid coronavirus pandemic

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The UK government borrowed £35.5bn in June, about five times more than the same month last year, as coronavirus continued to weigh on public finances.

The figure took total government debt to a record £1.98 trillion.

However, the monthly borrowing figure was lower compared with May and was in line with expectations.

The re-opening of non-essential retailers and other businesses in June saw a drop in furlough scheme spending and a rise in tax take.

Nevertheless, the June borrowing figure was still the third highest since records began in 1993.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) warned that its borrowing estimates are currently “subject to greater than usual uncertainty”.

It has revised down May’s borrowing figure by £9.8bn to £45.5bn, mainly because tax receipts and National Insurance contributions were higher than previously estimated.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “It’s clear that coronavirus has had a significant impact on our public finances, but we know without our response things would have been far worse.

“The best approach to ensure our public finances are sustainable in the medium-term is to minimise the economic scarring caused by the pandemic.

“Our Plan for Jobs does this by providing significant and targeted support where it’s needed the most, to ensure nobody is left without hope as we reopen our economy.

“I am also clear that, over the medium-term, we must, and we will, put our public finances back on a sustainable footing.”

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