Public sector borrowing soars on support deals

Jeremy Hunt
Jeremy Hunt: global emergencies

Public sector borrowing rose sharply higher to £22 billion in November, up £13.9bn on the same month last year and marking the highest November figure since monthly records began in 1993.

Economists were expecting a borrowing figure of £13bn but figures released by the Office for National Statistics showed that borrowing was fattened by the government’s energy and cost of living interventions, the decision to reverse April’s National Insurance hike, and high inflation.

The Energy Bills Support Scheme cost the government £1.9bn in November, while the Energy Price Guarantee was the main driver of a £4.7bn year-over-year rise in subsidies.

In addition, social assistance payments were £3.3bn higher than a year ago, reflecting the payment of the second cost of living grants to working-age benefit recipients.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said: “Faced with the twin global emergencies of a pandemic and Putin’s war in Ukraine, we have taken significant action to support millions of businesses and families here in the UK.

“We have a clear plan to help halve inflation next year, but that requires some tough decisions to put our public finances back on a sustainable footing.”

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