Government borrowing for April-June was more than double that for the whole of the previous fiscal year thanks to the “unprecedented impact” of the COVID-19 pandemic, official figures show.
The deficit of £127.9bn for the three-month period compares with a £55.4bn shortfall for the year to the end of March, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
For June alone, the government borrowed £35.5bn, about five times more than in the same month last year and the third highest monthly figure on record.
But it was lower than expected by economists and less than in May.
The ONS said: “The substantial increases in borrowing in recent months reflect the emerging effects of government coronavirus policies.”
However, the report also carried a warning that the figures were subject to greater than usual uncertainty due to the pandemic.
The figures come as Chancellor Rishi Sunak announces inflation-beating pay rises for doctors, teachers, police officers and other public sector employees.
The government has already announced extra spending and tax cuts worth around £192bn for the current financial year, including a £30bn “plan for jobs” revealed earlier this month.
Responding to the borrowing data, Mr 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.
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