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Halfway through the 2020-21 financial year the question is not whether the UK deficit is on course for a peacetime high but by just how much the previous record will be broken. By some distance, is the answer.
The bare figures are as follows. In September alone the government ran a deficit of £36bn, a sum that it would expect to rack up in an entire year in normal times. For the first six months of the year, borrowing totalled £208bn.