Sunak announces record peacetime borrowing to combat historic downturn

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UK government will borrow £400bn in 2020 as Covid-19 takes toll on economy and jobs

Rishi Sunak has said the government will borrow a peacetime record of almost £400bn this year as it seeks to combat the worst recession in more than 300 years.

The chancellor said the UK faced an “economic emergency” that required a public sector pay freeze for millions and a cut in the overseas aid budget. But he insisted there would be no turning back from the government’s levelling-up agenda, announcing a new £4bn fund to pay for local projects such as bypasses, libraries and station improvements.

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