Government debt at the end of May was 100.9% of gross domestic product, the first time that debt as a percentage of GDP has exceeded 100% since 1963.
Public finance data for May this morning from the Office for National Statistics lays bare the mounting cost of the government’s attempts to prop up the UK economy. Government debt at the end of last month was £1.95 trillion, an increase of £173.2 billion compared with 2019, as government borrowing rose to a higher-than-expected £55.2 billion in May, nine times more than in May last year. City analysts had forecast borrowing of £50 billion.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said, “Today’s figures confirm that coronavirus is having a severe impact on our public finances.
“The best way to restore our public finances to a more sustainable footing is to safely reopen our economy so people can return to work.
“We’ve set out our plan to do this in a gradual and safe fashion, including reopening high streets across the country this week, as we kickstart our economic recovery.”