Great Britain

UK national debt hits £2.024 trillion for first time in history after Government’s coronavirus spending spree

BRITAIN'S national debt has hit £2.024 TRILLION for the first time in history after the Government's coronavirus spending spree.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a raft of new support packages yesterday to help businesses make ends meet after a new crackdown to stop the spread of the virus.

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Fresh numbers from the Office ofNational Statistics revealed borrowing had gone up to 101.9 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) - the first time since the 1960s.

The debt record means the nation has borrowed the equivalent of roughly £30,000 for every person living in the UK.

The public sector borrowed a whopping £35.9 billion in August alone - the highest single month of debt since 1993, when monthly record began.

The debt is thanks to record spending as the Government throws money at people to try and balance the economic turmoil triggered by the coronavirus crisis.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced even more measures yesterday to support staff and businesses, including a new version of the furlough scheme, which will end next month.

The new Job Support Scheme aims to encourage firms to keep employees on part-time.

Those working at least a third of their normal hours will receive 77 per cent of their salary, capped at £697.92 per month.

The scheme, due to run for six months from November, will see the Government pay up to 22 per cent of wages, down from 80 per cent when the furlough policy began.

The furlough scheme has already cost the Exchequer £39 billion.

Mr Sunak also handed a lifeline to pubs and restaurants hit by the new 10pm curfew by extending the hospitality VAT cut to the end of March.

And he extended the emergency Covid loans schemes for businesses until the end of the year.

Government revenues have plunged because of tax-relief schemes, including business rates relief, and cutting VAT to 5 per cent for hospitality and travel.

Tax headed for the Exchequer plummeted by £7.5 billion compared to last year, the ONS said.

Treasury coffers have also been depleted by hand outs to get people spending - including the meal deal discount Eat Out to Help Out.

Mr Sunak warned yesterday there could be tax hikes in the works as he heaped praise on previous Chancellors having to make "difficult decisions" to balance the country's books.

He said: "Over time and as our economy recovers we absolutely need to have an eye on our public finances and be in a strong and stable position.

"Our public finances were in a strong position thats what enabled me to act, it reminds us of the importance of public finances, having a strong economy, when problems like this come along you can throw a lot at them."

Chancellor Rishi Sunak explains what he means about 'viability' in new Jobs Support Scheme as furlough ends

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