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Coronavirus sends UK debt over £2 trillion for the first time

UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced on Friday that the national debt has exceeded £2 trillion (€2.23 trillion) for the first time, a £227 billion increase from July last year.

The amount borrowed from April to July 2020 was “almost three times” that borrowed “during the whole of the latest full financial year (April 2019 to March 2020).”

Total borrowing for the current financial year – ending in March 2021 – now could increase to levels six times higher than those recorded in the previous year.

The ONS warning comes after the UK plunged into its largest recession on record, following a 20.4% drop in gross domestic product

The increase in borrowing was mainly caused by the introduction of “public health measures” and “new government policies” aimed at supporting businesses and individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic, the organisation said.

Such measures include a Self Employment Income Support Scheme – to which around 2.7 million Brits have already applied, according to Chancellor Rishi Sunak – as well as an “extraordinary funding” for London’s public transport (TFL) and a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

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