House of Commons Library

Public Finances: Key Economic Indicators

Published Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Latest data on government net borrowing and net debt.

Jump to full report >>

The OBR published new forecasts for borrowing and debt alongside Autumn Budget 2018.

Net borrowing

The OBR now expects borrowing to decrease in 2018/19, increase in 2019/20 and then fall a little in subsequent years reaching £20 billion by 2023/24. The OBR’s borrowing forecasts from 2019/20 weren’t much different to their March forecast. However, this hides an underlying improvement to the borrowing forecasts which was used up by the spending and tax measures announced by the Chancellor in the Budget.

Public sector net borrowing, % GDP

Net debt

The OBR forecast that the debt-to-GDP ratio will fall across the forecast period. The latest forecast is lower in all years compared to the March forecast. The improvement comes because the OBR forecast that the cash level of debt will be lower and the size of nominal GDP will be higher.

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

Share this page