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In the News

UK government debt hits £2tn for first time

Graham Watson

24th August 2020

No surprises here: the public finances have reached unprecedented territory.

The government now owes more than £2 trillion as a result of the interventions associated with coronavirus. It is the first time since 1960-61 that the value of government debt exceeds UK GDP.

National debt as a percentage of GDP has increased 20.4 per cent over the past 12 months to rise above 100 per cent of GDP for the first time since 1961.

That said, as Carl Emmerson of the IFS notes, low interest rates (and in particular the yield or interest rate paid on newly issued government bonds) mean that the amount that the government is spending less servicing its debt than had previously been forecast.

Graham Watson

Graham Watson has taught Economics for over twenty years. He contributes to Tutor2U, reads voraciously and is interested in all aspects of Teaching and Learning.

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