UK borrows record £385bn in first eight months of year

The UK Government said on Thursday it would seek to borrow another £110 billion from the bond market between September and November.

The move will take the UK’s total sales of debt securities in the first eight months of the financial year to a record £385 billion.

That means the UK is on course to borrow nearly £400 billion this year, which on top of refinancing existing debt will take UK public sector debt as a share of the economy to its highest since the 1950s.

The UK Debt Management Office (DMO) is already on track to sell an unprecedented £275 billion of debt securities (gilts) between April and August to help fund COVID-19 spending, repay maturing debt and replace lost tax revenue.

The DMO has raised £217.1 billion via gilt sales in 2020-21 to date.

The UK Treasury said in a statement: “The government has delivered an unprecedented package of measures to provide the critical support needed by individuals, families and businesses, through the economic disruption caused by COVID-19, and set out a plan to support jobs as the economy reopens …

“This has necessarily increased the government’s financing requirement compared to that set out at Budget 2020. 

“The Chancellor has already outlined that this will be fully funded through the government’s normal debt management operations …

“Planned gilt sales from April to November 2020 inclusive will total a minimum of £385 billion, based on the government’s latest assessment of its financing requirement …

“The higher volume of issuance seen so far this year due to COVID-19 is not expected to persist over the final four months of the year …

“The Office for Budget Responsibility’s (OBR) Fiscal sustainability report … suggested that the gross financing requirement (GFR) for the full financial year could be in the range of £393 billion to £521 billion based on the OBR’s three new medium-term scenarios for the economy and public finances …”

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