UK government borrows more than expected in August

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LONDON, Sept 21 (Reuters) – Britain’s budget deficit was bigger than expected in August as high inflation again bumped up interest accrued on government bonds, official data showed on Wednesday.

The Office for National Statistics said public sector borrowing excluding state-owned banks stood at 11.82 billion pounds ($13.44 billion).

A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to borrowing of 8.45 billion pounds for the shortfall in August.

The pound dipped on the news and briefly touched $1.1349, its lowest against the U.S. dollar since 1985.

The ONS recorded debt interest payable of 8.2 billion pounds in August alone – the highest figure for that month since records began, caused by the uplift to inflation-linked government bonds as prices rise.

In response to the data, Britain’s finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng said it was right that the government took action to help families and businesses.

“I have pledged to get debt down in the medium term. However, in the face of a major economic shock, it is absolutely right that the government takes action now to help families and businesses,” Kwarteng said in a statement.

($1 = 0.8797 pounds)

(Reporting by Andy Bruce; editing by William James and Paul Sandle)

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