Latest data on government net borrowing and net debt.

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Government borrowing

Government borrowed £62 billion in April 2020 according to the ONS’s provisional estimate. This is £51 billion more than in April 2019. More was borrowed in April 2020 than in any month since records began (January 1993). The unprecedented level of borrowing reflects the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. April’s figures contain some forecast data and are very uncertain. They are likely to be revised in the coming months.

The Library briefing Coronavirus: Effect on the economy and public finances looks at the effect of coronavirus on the public finances.

Public sector net borrowing, £ billion

Government debt

At the end of April 2020, government debt was equivalent to 98% of GDP which is higher than at the end of April 2019, when the debt-to-GDP ratio was 80%. This represents the largest year-on-year increase in the debt-to-GDP ratio since monthly records began (March 1993). The ratio was last over 95% in the early 1960s.

The Library briefing Coronavirus: Effect on the economy and public finances looks at the effect of coronavirus on the public finances.

Public sector net debt, % GDP

Definitions and notes

The ONS’s figures for 2019/20 are 2020/21 provisional: they’re not final figures and may be revised as provisional data are replaced with final audited data.

Net borrowing – often described as the deficit – is the difference between what the government spends and what it receives in taxes over a particular time period.

Net debt is the total amount that the public sector owes – it is largely the stock of past borrowing.

All figures exclude public sector banks.

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