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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Record January borrowing for UK as retail sales plunge

The U.K. borrowed a record £8.8 billion in January 2021 according to the Office for National Statistics — the highest since monthly recording began in 1993.

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The debt hike, which compares with a surplus in January 2020 of £9.6 billion comes in a month when retail sales fell by 8.2 percent. That’s less than the 22 percent drop during the first lockdown last April, but a bigger fall than had been expected.

The figures show a shift to online retail, which made up 35.2 percent of sales in January, compared with 29.6 percent in December and 19.5 percent in January last year.

Government spending has increased drastically since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, with the Treasury supporting businesses and workers through the furlough scheme, loans and grants at a time when tax revenues have been hard hit by sluggish economic activity.

The ONS data show that between April 2020 and January 2021 borrowing reached 97.8 percent of Britain’s GDP; a level not seen since the early 1960s.

More from …

William Adkins

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(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by WCT staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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