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In just six months the government has borrowed £208bn, taking the national debt to more than 103% of GDP.
In September alone, borrowing rose by £36bn, equivalent to almost half of all spending, £5.9bn of which went on the furlough scheme and self-employed support.
That’s about the same amount that tax receipts fell year-on-year as a consequence of the slowing economy and relief offered by HMRC.
In that context, the £5m gap that scuppered a deal between central government and Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham is a pittance. Yet it also explains why the chancellor is apparently so keen to rein in the level of support he is offering.
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