COVID 19: Cost Tracker Update Contents


Shortly after the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic on 11 March 2020, government began announcing a series of measures to support public services, workers and businesses. The National Audit Office (NAO) has been collecting and publishing information on the government’s COVID-19 response measures—the COVID-19 cost tracker—first published in September 2020 and updated in January 2021 and May 2021. The cost tracker presents the range of government measures (categorised by lead department and the nature of the measure), the estimated lifetime cost for implementing the measure, and how much has been spent to date. In May 2021, the cost tracker revealed that the total cost of government’s measures was estimated to be £372 billion, with £172 billion reported spent. The total value of loans guaranteed by government was estimated to be £92 billion, and the write-off costs associated with loan schemes was estimated to be £26 billion. The cost tracker does not capture every aspect and consequence of government’s actions, which potentially underplays the true cost of the response. To make decisions and disburse funding more quickly, government relaxed the usual rules over the management of public money and took on significant financial risks, which government may have to manage for many years and which will have implications for future spending decisions.

Published: 25 July 2021 Site information    Accessibility statement