UK borrowing soars to record; retail sales slump

New figures Friday (May 22) show UK public borrowing has soared to record levels.

In April the government borrowed 62.1 billion pounds - or almost 76 billion dollars.

That was six times higher than the same month last year.

Over the whole year economists estimate borrowing could equal about 15% of GDP.

That’s far higher than during the global economic crisis a decade ago.

Any second wave of the crisis could make the figures even worse.

Total public debt now almost equals the size of the economy, and is at its highest level since 1963.

Friday’s retail sales numbers were just as bleak.

Volumes fell 18.1% in April on the month, worse than expected.

And they may not bounce back fast even when lockdowns ease.

One recent survey by YouGov shows almost half of people would be uncomfortable going to a clothing shop right now.

A majority wouldn’t feel safe in restaurants, cafes or bars.

The road to recovery could prove slow.