UK debt repayments soar on high inflation: data

Interest repayments on UK government debt have soared as the country’s inflation reaches the highest levels in decades, official data showed Thursday.

Repayments in May stood at £7.6 billion ($9.3 billion), up 70 percent compared with a year earlier, the Office for National Statistics said in a statement.

It was the third biggest amount on record and highest for the month of May, the ONS added. 

“The recent high levels of debt interest payments are largely a result of higher inflation,” the statistics office said.

The ONS added that the government’s net borrowing in fact fell to £14 billion in May from £18 billion a year earlier, when the state was still funding the bulk of private-sector wages to safeguard jobs during the pandemic.

“There is nowhere inflation is not making its presence felt and the hike in interest payments on the government’s debt mountain is a prime example,” noted AJ Bell financial analyst Danni Hewson.

Countries around the world are battling soaring inflation caused by rocketing energy and food prices.

In the UK, inflation reached 9.1 percent in May, the highest level for 40 years.

The annual rate is set to top 11 percent before the end of the year according to the Bank of England, raising the prospect of recession.