UK retail sales plunge as government borrows £8.8bn

Borrowing was highest for a January since modern records began

The impact of the UK’s third lockdown on the economy has been laid bare by official figures showing that spending in stores and online fell by more than 8% last month while government borrowing was the highest for a January since modern records began.

All sectors of retailing except for food and online outlets were affected by the imposition of tough new restrictions across the UK, and although the Office for National Statistics said the decline was not as severe as the 22% drop in the first lockdown last April, it was substantially worse than the 3% drop the City had expected.

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