National debt now worst since Second World War

Britain’s borrowing surged to a record £13.3 billion in June, official figures showed yesterday as economists used phrases such as ‘dire’, ‘alarming’ and ‘parlous’ to describe the state of the nation’s public finances. The figure is nearly double that for the same month last year while the actual cash shortfall also stood at a record of £19 billion, £7.6 billion higher than last year. Total borrowing now stands at a colossal £799 billion – 56.6 per cent of gross domestic product. Debt as a proportion of national income is expected to surge above the level it reached when Jim Callaghan was forced to go cap in hand to the International Monetary Fund in 1976. And as a proportion of GDP, it is shooting up to levels not seen since Britain was paying off the borrowing it incurred to fund the Second World War.