'Yikes!' UK's debt mountain vulnerable to small interest rate moves, Sunak says

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak speaks with members of staff as he visits the headquarters of Octopus Energy, in London, Britain October 5, 2020. Leon Neal/Pool via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - British finance minister Rishi Sunak said on Monday that the country’s public finances were vulnerable to small increases in interest rates because of a huge stock of government debt which has rocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Now that we have so much debt, it doesn’t take a lot for suddenly ‘yikes’ - we have to come up with X billion pounds a year to pay for higher interest,” Sunak said during an interview at the Conservative Party Conference.

Reporting by William James and Andy Bruce; editing by Guy Faulconbridge