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UK borrowing hits record high of £22bn in November

borrowing Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt walks at Downing Street in London, Britain, November 17, 2022. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has reaffirmed his position that the UK is facing 'tough decisions' to reduce government borrowing. Photo: Toby Melville/Reuters (Toby Melville / reuters)

Public borrowing jumped to £22bn last month as surging debt interest costs pushed the deficit to its highest ever November level.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said November borrowing was £13.9bn more than the same month in 2021, and the highest November borrowing since monthly records began in 1993.

Borrowing ⁠— the difference between spending and tax income ⁠— stood at £22bn as the public sector spent more than it received.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said: “Faced with the twin global emergencies of a pandemic and Putin’s war in Ukraine, we have taken significant action to support millions of businesses and families here in the UK.

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“We have a clear plan to help halve inflation next year, but that requires some tough decisions to put our public finances back on a sustainable footing.”

Government spending on cost of living payments and energy bill support for households helped fuel the rise.

"Since mid-2021, the cost of servicing central government debt has increased considerably," the ONS said.

"The recent high levels of debt interest payable are largely a result of higher inflation."

Total public sector spending struck £98.9bn for the month while day-to-day central government expenditure increased by £13.5bn to £82bn for November, the ONS said.

It said this included a 50% hike in interest payments to £7.3bn, driven by debt interest payments linked to Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation.

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Meanwhile, the government also witnessed a £3.3bn increase in social assistance costs to £13.2bn, driven by an increase in cost of living payments.

Public sector receipts ⁠— largely tax revenues for the government ⁠— hit £76.9bn for the month.

The ONS also revealed that public sector net debt grew by £125.9bn to £2,477.5bn compared to November last year.

The government’s Office for Budget Responsibility forecast last month that borrowing would reach £177bn this financial year, equivalent to 7.1% of gross domestic product, and remain high at 5.5% of GDP in 2022/23

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