LONDON: Britain's economic recovery from its COVID-19 crash was a bit quicker than previously thought in the July to September period, according to official data which also showed government borrowing soaring to pay for the coronavirus crisis.
Gross domestic product grew by a record 16 per cent in the third quarter - revised up from a previous estimate of 15.5 per cent - but that still did not make up for its 18.8 per cent slump in the April to June period when much of the economy was shut down.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) also said Britain borrowed a record £241 billion (US$323 billion) in the first eight months of the financial year, nearly £190 billion more than in the same period a year earlier.
The country's budget forecasters think the deficit will hit almost £400 billion in the 2020-21 year, close to 20 per cent of the UK's GDP, or double the hit from the global financial crisis.
READ: Singapore to bar UK travellers over new COVID-19 virus strain; tighter measures for those with travel history to New South Wales
Public debt stood at almost £2.1 trillion, or 99.5 per cent of annual economic output, the highest debt-to-GDP ratio since 1962, the ONS said.
Finance minister Rishi Sunak reiterated his pledge to tackle the huge shortfall, but not immediately.
"When our economy recovers, it's right that we take the necessary steps to put the public finances on a more sustainable footing so we are able to respond to future crises in the way we have done this year," he said in a statement.