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22 November 2022

UK debt rises to highest level in 60 years

Pandemic spending, support with energy bills and falling GDP have all contributed.

By Polly Bindman

UK debt rose in October to the highest level for almost 60 years, according to data released on Tuesday 22 November by the Office of National Statistics.

Public sector net debt, excluding public sector banks, reached £2,459.9bn at the end of October 2022, amounting to around 97.5 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). The last time debt as a proportion of GDP was this high was in 1963. 

Extra spending required by the government during the pandemic, reduced cash receipts and a fall in GDP have all contributed to this rise.

UK public borrowing surged in October to £13.5bn as the effects of government measures to support households and businesses with rising energy prices kicked in. This was an increase of £4.4bn compared with October last year, and the fourth highest amount for October since records began in 1993.

[See also: Labour must make sure no one forgets the Tories’ Brexit disaster]

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