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/UK government borrowing fell in August but remains elevated due to costly Covid support measures, official data showed Tuesday/ COURTESY

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UK borrowing dips in August, remains elevated on Covid

LondonUnited Kingdom, Sept 21 – UK government borrowing fell in August but remains elevated due to costly Covid support measures, official data showed Tuesday.

Public sector net borrowing, the state’s preferred measure of the deficit, slid to £20.5 billion ($28 billion, 24 billion euros) last month, the Office for National Statistics said.

That was however the second-highest level for the month since records began, after £26 billion in August last year.

The government’s finances have been plagued by emergency Covid-19 measures, in particular, a furlough scheme that paid the bulk of private-sector wages for millions of UK workers but ends later this month.

The ONS also revealed Tuesday that the annual deficit had ballooned by more than expected.

Emergency pandemic support pushed borrowing to £325.1 billion in the financial year to March, up from the prior estimate of £298 billion.

The revised figure was equivalent to 15.5 percent of gross domestic product.

That was the highest level since the end of World War II in 1945, when it stood at 22.4 percent.

The ONS added that this revision was due to write-offs of state-backed emergency loans during the pandemic.

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