House of Commons Library

Public Finances: Key Economic Indicators

Published Thursday, September 21, 2017

Latest data on government net borrowing and net debt.

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Net borrowing

Provisional estimates from the ONS suggest that the government borrowed £45 billion in 2016/17, which was £28 billion lower than the amount borrowed in 2015/16. Borrowing in 2016/17 was at its lowest level since 2007/08. The £45 billion borrowed in 2016/17 is equivalent to 2.3% of GDP.

Public sector net borrowing, % GDP

Net debt

At the end of 2016/17 the UK’s net debt was £1,727 billion (£1.7 trillion). The debt-to-GDP ratio increased from 83.5% of GDP at the end of 2015/16 to 86.8% of GDP at the end of 2016/17. 

 Public sector net debt, % GDP

2016/17 figures are provisional

The ONS’s figures for 2016/17 are provisional: they are not final figures and may be revised over the coming months as provisional data are replaced with finalised and audited data.


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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