UK public borrowing surges to new record high in August

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British public borrowing surged to 35.9 billion pounds (about 45.69 billion U.S. dollars) in August, representing a new record high since 1993, as the coronavirus pandemic had an unprecedented impact on public finances, the British Office for National Statistics (ONS) said Friday.

Fraser Munro, public sector finance statistician at the ONS, tweeted that the borrowing reading in August was around seven times the amount borrowed in August 2019, but broadly in line with the market expectation.

Meanwhile, the British government has borrowed 173.7 billion pounds (about 221.05 billion dollars) in the first five months of this financial year, which started in April, 146.9 billion pounds (about 186.94 billion dollars) more than in the same period last year, hitting the highest level during the period since records began in 1993, data showed.

In addition, figures published by the British Office for Budget Responsibility suggested that borrowing was expected to soar at 372.2 billion pounds (473.65 billion dollars) for the financial year ending March 2021.

British Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak unveiled Thursday a new package of aid for businesses and workers, in an efforts to support jobs and ensure economic growth under the threat of resurgence of the pandemic.

His new plan shelved the autumn budget to better focus on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 103,600 people in England were estimated to have coronavirus in the week ending Sept. 19, said the ONS Friday, meaning a sharp rise of the number of infections in recent weeks.

Countries, including Britain, China, Russia and the United States, are racing against time to develop coronavirus vaccines.

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