House of Commons Library

Public Finances: Key Economic Indicators

Published Thursday, June 21, 2018

Latest data on government net borrowing and net debt.

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Net borrowing

The ONS has released its third provisional estimate for borrowing in 2017/18. The ONS estimates that government borrowed £39.5 billion in 2017/18, equivalent to 1.9% of GDP. Borrowing in 2017/18 was £6.2 billion lower than in 2016/17.

The provisional estimate for 2017/18 is likely to be revised as the ONS replaces initial estimates with provisional and then final outturn data.

Public sector net borrowing, % GDP

Net debt

At the end of May 2018 public sector net debt was equivalent to 85.0% of GDP, 0.4% of GDP lower than in May 2018. 

Public sector net debt, % GDP

2017/18 figures are provisional

The ONS’s figures for 2017/18 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.

All figures exclude public sector banks.




Commons Briefing papers SN02812

Author: Matthew Keep

Topics: Economic situation, Public expenditure

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