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This picture taken on August 7, 2013 shows a general view of the Bank of England in London/AFP

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UK borrowing dips on easing Covid curbs

LondonUnited Kingdom, May 25 – UK government borrowing fell in April as easing virus curbs buoyed economic activity, but remains elevated owing to emergency Covid support, official data showed Tuesday.

Public sector net borrowing slid to £31.7 billion ($45 billion, 37 billion euros) last month, the Office for National Statistics said.

However, borrowing still stood at the second highest ever level for the month.

And it compared with a record £47.3 billion in April 2020 when at the height of the Covid crisis.

“The public finances started fiscal year 2021/22 with a large shortfall in April as the economy continued to receive… support,” noted financial services giant EY in a note.

“However, the deficit was well below the record level seen in April 2020 when the double-digit economic contraction had a significant impact on (tax) receipts.”

The ONS revised down slightly its estimate for last year’s total deficit.

Borrowing still ballooned to a record £300.3 billion in the year to March, the highest level since World War II.

The public purse has been slammed in particular by a furlough scheme which has paid the bulk of private sector wages for millions of workers across the UK during the pandemic.

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Total government debt meanwhile stood at £2.17 trillion at the end of last month, the ONS added Tuesday.

That represented 98.5 percent of Britain’s gross domestic product, the highest proportion since March 1962.

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