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Public Finances: Key Economic Indicators

Published Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Latest data on government net borrowing and net debt.

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Net borrowing

Borrowing in the current financial year (April 2016 to February 2017) is £19.9 billion lower compared with the same period in the previous financial year.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts that borrowing for the whole of 2016/17 will be £51.7 billion, a decrease of £20.3 billion compared with 2015/16. If this turns out to be the case, borrowing will be equivalent to 2.6% of GDP, a similar level to 2007/08.

Public sector net borrowing, % GDP

Net debt

Debt was equivalent to 85.4% of GDP at the end of February 2017; in February 2016 the debt-to-GDP ratio was lower as 83.1% of GDP. The OBR expect the debt-to-GDP ratio to begin falling between 2017/18 and 2018/19.

Public sector net debt, % GDP


Net borrowing – often described as the deficit – is the difference between what the government spends and what it receives in taxes over a particular time period.

Net debt is the total amount that the public sector owes – it is largely the stock of past borrowing.




Commons Briefing papers SN02812

Author: Matthew Keep

Topics: Economic situation, Public expenditure

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