Public sector net borrowing is estimated at £ 22.3 billion in October – the sixth highest in any month since monthly records began in 1993.

The figure from the Office for National Statistics means that public sector net debt stood at £ 2.076 trillion at the end of October – or 100.8% of GDP, a level not seen in many decades.

This was an increase of 276.3 billion pounds during the first seven months of the fiscal year, mostly due to the enormous cost of supporting workers and businesses through the coronavirus pandemic.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “We have provided more than 200 billion pounds in support to protect the economy, lives and livelihoods from the large and far-reaching impacts of the Coronavirus.

“This is a responsible thing to do, but it is also clear that over time, we are ensuring that we put public finances on a sustainable path.

Borrowing for the first seven months of the fiscal year is estimated at 214.9 billion pounds – the highest for any period from April to October and the sixth highest borrowing in any month since records began in 1993.

The Office of Budget Responsibility will publish its first borrowing forecast for this year and next on November 25.

Borrowing is currently cheap but the Bank of England has warned of the potential for some long-term economic damage, even after the pandemic is over.