Coronavirus spending to swell UK borrowing by extra 120 billion pounds: think tank

By: - March 26, 2020
FILE PHOTO: Spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London
FILE PHOTO: General view of the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in London, Britain, March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo

March 26, 2020

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s efforts to keep its economy afloat during the coronavirus crisis are likely to add 120 billion pounds to government borrowing in the coming financial year, more than triple the amount forecast recently, a think tank said on Thursday.

“Based on the information we have now, it would not be surprising if they were to add around 120 billion pounds to borrowing, more than tripling the amount forecast just weeks ago and pushing borrowing up to 177 billion pounds or 8% of national income,” IFS researchers Carl Emmerson and Isabel Stockton said.

Last week, British finance minister Rishi Sunak took the historic step of announcing that the British state would pay 80% of the wages of private sector workers, who number around 28 million, in a bid to reduce an expected surge in unemployment.

He is due to set out help for the self-employed later on Thursday, adding to a raft of other measures.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce; Editing by William Schomberg)

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