House of Commons Library

Public Finances: Key Economic Indicators

Published Friday, November 24, 2017

Latest data on government net borrowing and net debt.

Jump to full report >>

Net borrowing

The OBR revised their forecasts for the public finances alongside Autumn Budget 2017.

The OBR now expects lower borrowing this year compared with its March 2017 forecast. The OBR’s borrowing forecast for 2018/19 has also been lowered, however this is largely a result of English Housing Associations being moved – by the ONS – out of the public sector.

As a result of the OBR predicting slower economic growth over the period of the forecast – compared with its March 2017 forecast – the OBR has increased its forecast for borrowing by over £10 billion in each year between 2019/20 – 2021/22.

Public sector net borrowing, % GDP

Net debt

The OBR forecast debt to peak this year at 86.5% of GDP and decrease in subsequent years, falling to around £79% of GDP in 2022/23.

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.

The Office for Budget Responsibility will publish new forecasts for borrowing and debt on 22 November 2017.

English Housing Associations: reclassification

English Housing Associations were reclassified to the private sector by the ONS from 16 November 2017. Their borrowing and debt is therefore outside of the public sector.


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

Share this page