March 26, 2020 / 1:31 PM / 14 days ago

Coronavirus spending to swell UK borrowing by extra 120 bln stg: think tank

LONDON, March 26 (Reuters) - Britain’s efforts to keep its economy afloat during the coronavirus crisis are likely to add 120 billion pounds ($144 billion) to government borrowing in the coming financial year, more than triple the amount forecast recently, a think tank said on Thursday.

“Based on the information we have now, it would not be surprising if they were to add around 120 billion pounds to borrowing, more than tripling the amount forecast just weeks ago and pushing borrowing up to 177 billion pounds or 8% of national income,” IFS researchers Carl Emmerson and Isabel Stockton said.

Last week, British finance minister Rishi Sunak took the historic step of announcing that the British state would pay 80% of the wages of private sector workers, who number around 28 million, in a bid to reduce an expected surge in unemployment.

He is due to set out help for the self-employed later on Thursday, adding to a raft of other measures.

$1 = 0.8320 pounds Reporting by Andy Bruce Editing by William Schomberg

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