Responding to the figures, Alison Ring, ICAEW Public Sector and Taxation Director, said:
“Today’s public finance figures show a deficit of £18.8bn in October, which is in line with the revised forecasts published by the Office for Budget Responsibility last month. The deficit has stopped growing now that the furlough and other pandemic support schemes have finished.
“However, a last-minute rush by banks to obtain cheap loans for small and medium enterprises, before the application deadline on 31 October, caused government debt to jump by £68.7bn last month. These loans should help businesses navigate choppy economic waters with rapidly-rising inflation, as well as supply chain and staffing challenges. Nonetheless, the Chancellor will need to continue watching events closely to see if he will need to reintroduce any pandemic support schemes.”