Rocketing to £20.8bn, the deficit was not only the biggest recorded in money terms, but also, at 5.4 per cent of GDP, the biggest relative to the size of the economy – and the data series began in 1955.
This gap – soaring even above the first quarter’s £15.4bn deficit, which was then the worst of all time – seemed to make a mockery of chancellor George Osborne’s wish for the UK to pay its way in the world. The UK began in 2012 to receive less income on overseas investment than foreign investment earned in the UK.
Most of the gap came from EU interaction – where the second quarter saw the UK’s second biggest deficit, after its all-time record in the first. But the UK’s current account outside the bloc also moved into a £1.3bn deficit, after years of surplus, including a £7.3bn surplus last quarter.