BRITAIN’S third lockdown has cost the country another £100billion, shock new figures revealed today.
As of the start of the month, the Government has shelled out a whopping £327billion in total on Covid measures to try and shield the economy and keep jobs.
Ministers have splashed £92billion on guaranteed loans, £26billion of which may need to be completely written off, the National Audit Office said today.
In a year of support, £151billion of cash help was ploughed into businesses including furlough cash, and £97billion on extra support for health and social care.
A further £54billion is estimated for support for individuals like the self-employed grant schemes.
Extra cash for the emergency services and public bodies is thought to have cost an eye-watering £65billion too, the watchdog reported.
The numbers are up £100billion from when the NAO last looked at the figures back in January of this year.
Rishi Sunak ploughed cash into firms and Britain’s economy when Covid hit last year, and the state has intervened to pay millions of people’s wages.
The furlough programme will last until September, and it will start to wind down from the summer.
Ministers hope the current lockdown relaxing will be irreversible, and that nothing derails progress which could force Brits to stay inside once again.
The Chancellor has repeatedly paved the way for more extreme measures like tax rises in future to pay back the incredible Covid debts which have mounted up.
Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts said the fresh figures showed the Government faced a “long road to recovery”.
She said last night: “Government expects to spend an eye-watering £372 billion in response to the pandemic, and public accountability has never been more important.
“The NAO’s cost-tracker tool is vital as the primary public data source on Covid spending across government.
“With such huge sums going out the door, and government guaranteeing loans worth over £90 billion, government faces a long road to recovery ahead.”