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UK Economy Contracts Most in 40yrs, Debt Hits £173bn

Britain’s gross domestic product (GDP) shrank by 2.2 percent on quarter in the first three months of 2020, after showing no growth in the previous period and compared with a preliminary estimate of a 2.0 percent fall.

It was the largest fall in UK GDP since the third quarter of 1979 as a coronavirus lockdown from mid-March forced non-essential businesses to close and consumers to stay at home.

Britain’s public debt is larger than the size of the country’s economy for the first time since 1963, after the government borrowed a record £55bn in May.

The total level of debt has risen by £173bn over the last year to reach £1.95tn, or 100.9% of GDP, as ministers introduced unprecedented support for businesses and households during the coronavirus crisis.

The UK joined Italy, the US and Japan in the club of nations with levels of borrowing higher than their national income as the latest Office for National Statistics figures showed the UK government borrowed £55.2bn in May, roughly nine times more than the same month last year and the highest monthly borrowing since comparable records began in 1993.

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