UK Government debt up and tax receipts down

government building

UK Government debt up and tax receipts down.  The financial impact of the Covid pandemic and Lockdown have hit Government finances very hard.

What are the figures for Government debt?

The UK Government raises money for public spending in two ways.  Most years the taxes collected are not enough to pay for public spending so the Government borrows as well to make up the difference.  This creates Government debt, which is repaid over time with interest.  For July;

  • Government debt is over £2 trillion for the first time ever.
  • Debt is now 100.5% of GDP.  See the graph below.
  • Borrowing so far since April is £150 billion.  Another record for the financial year so far.

This graph from the ONS shows how Government borrowing is the highest since the 1960’s when compared to GDP*.  It’s worth noting that borrowing hit a high point during the Second World War and took until the 1960’s to get below 100% of GDP.

Government borrowing

What are the numbers for tax collected?

The economic recession has hit tax collection very hard.  Compared with a year ago;

  • VAT down by 26%
  • Corporation Tax down by 30%
  • Employee Income Tax down by 6%
  • Self Employed Income Tax down nearly 50%

So, as well as the economic crisis creating more Government borrowing; it has also reduced tax income for the Government as well.  The reductions in tax income will then create more Government borrowing to plug the gap!

Why is this happening?

Despite the Covid pandemic and Lockdown, public services still need to be paid for, plus the cost of the response to Lockdown such as the Furlough scheme, Business loans and grants etc., have added to costs.  So, we have a situation where UK Government debt is up and tax receipts down.

According to the ONS;

“The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to have a significant impact on the UK public sector finances. These effects arise from both the introduction of public health measures and from new government policies to support businesses and individuals.”

Want to learn more?

You can read a detailed briefing from the ONS here.

Learn more about NewsBrokerUK here.

The ONS is the Office for National Statistics and is the official statistics provider for the UK.

GDP means Gross Domestic Product.  This is the name used for the size of a country’s economy.