PUBLIC borrowing spiralled to a new record high as official figures warned bank bail-outs could add up to £1.5 trillion to the national debt.
Net borrowing between April and January soared to £67.2bn, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said – prompting forecasts that it could hit £100bn this year.
The ONS added that Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group – rescued with £37bn in taxpayer cash – were being classed as public corporations.
Adding their liabilities onto the public books would add between £1 trillion and £1.5 trillion to net debt, it estimates – equivalent to between 70% and 100% of the UK’s entire output.
The public finances have come under increasing strain in a worsening recession as tax revenues fall and benefit payouts rise.
Plans to kick-start the economy and bank rescues have added to the pressure.
The latest figures sparked a fresh political row as opposition politicians lined up to attack the Government’s handling of the public finances.