Last month, as the coronavirus pandemic is expected to cause the biggest drop in economic output in 300 years, the U.K. announced its largest peacetime borrowing level ever. This according to an article in CNBC.
Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) data shows that the British economy is predicted to contract by 11.3% in 2020 before growing by 5.5% in 2021, 6.6% in 2022 and 2.3%, 1.7% and 1.8% in each of the following years. The article reports that OBR data also reflects that GDP is “not expected to return to pre-crisis levels until the fourth quarter of 2022, and the economy will be around 3% smaller in 2025 than expected in the government’s March budget.”
British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak announced £280 billion in public spending to bolster the country in the wake of the pandemic. He told the House of Commons, “High as these costs are, the costs of inaction would have been far higher, but this situation is clearly unsustainable over the medium term.” Sunak applauded the government’s economic response in his statement, highlighting that the scheme had “protected jobs, supported incomes and helped businesses stay afloat.” The British government announced an extension of its furlough program until the end of next March.
The OBR expects borrowing to reach a total of £394 billion ($526 billion), representing 19% of the country’s GDP and the highest level in peacetime history.
In a statement following the spending review, the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) reportedly “commended the spending review as laying ‘the foundations for a brighter economic future.’ “