The public sector borrowed another £35.9 billion in August (Picture: Getty)

The UK’s national debt hit a new record at the end of August as the public sector borrowed around £35.9 billion, the latest figures show.

Debt hit £2,023.9 billion just weeks after passing £2 trillion for the first time ever in July. This is £249.5 billion more than the same time last year, according to new data from the Office for National Statistics.

It pushed borrowing up to 101.9% of gross domestic product (GDP) after the public sector borrowed around £35.9 billion in August.

The Government has thrown billions at offsetting the economic chaos caused by the Covid-19 crisis. It comes just a day after Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced an extension to loan schemes and a new Job Support Scheme to replace furlough.

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In July borrowing rose higher than GDP for the first time since the early 1960s.

It gives a stark picture of the huge costs involved in fighting the pandemic.

Most countries borrow money even in good times, with the UK borrowing £5.4 billion in August last year. But the scale this year is unprecedented.

In August, the public sector borrowed more in a single month than at any time since 1993 when monthly records began.

Borrowing is still less than analysts predicted. Pantheon Macroeconomics produced an average figure of what analysts had predicted, which forecast £38 billion-worth of borrowing in August.


Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak during a virtual news conference in Downing Street, London
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a raft of measures as part of a ‘winter economy plan’ to protect jobs as the pandemic continues to decimate the economy (Picture: PA)

Mr Sunak announced as he set out new measures to protect jobs and the economy in the months to come that the furlough scheme has so far cost the Treasury more than £39 billion.

Officials have been forced to turn to loans to make up the cash, especially as the amount of tax being collected falls.

Friday’s figures from the ONS showed that central Government’s tax receipts reached £37.3 billion last month, which is £7.5 billion less than a year before. The amount of VAT, corporation tax and income tax collected by the tax man fell considerably, the ONS said.

The money was used to fund £78.5 billion worth of day-to-day spending at central Government, which was £19.5 billion higher than August 2019.

Just over £6 billion of this funded the salaries of furloughed workers, while £4.7 billion paid for support to the self-employed.

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Source: Metro