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The federal government ran a deficit of $248.2 billion through the first nine months of its 2020-21 fiscal year as spending soared due to the pandemic.

The result for the April-to-December period compared with a deficit of $11 billion in the same period a year earlier.

The government says in its fiscal monitor that the unprecedented shift in the government’s financial results reflects the severe deterioration in the¬†economy¬†and the government’s response plan to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Revenue was $207.7 billion for the April-to-December period, down from $246 billion, as tax and other revenue fell.

Meanwhile, program spending, excluding net actuarial losses, rose to $428.9 billion from $230.5 billion in the same period a year earlier, due in large part to the many programs established to help people and businesses during the pandemic.

Public debt charges fell to $15.4 billion compared with $18.4 billion a year earlier, while net actuarial losses increased to $11.5 billion from $8.1 billion.