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Public Finances: Key Economic Indicators

Published Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Latest data on government net borrowing and net debt.

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Net borrowing

Government borrowing in the current financial year to date (April to January 2018) was £7.2 billion lower compared with the same period in 2017. This is equivalent to a decrease of nearly 16%. The OBR now predict borrowing in 2017/18 will undershoot their November forecast "by a significant margin", though the full year deficit is "still unlikely to fall as sharply from last year's figure."


Net debt

At the end of January 2018 public sector net debt was equivalent to 84.1% of GDP, up 0.4% points on January 2017.

2016/17 figures and figures for the current financial year 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.

All figures exclude public sector banks.




Commons Briefing papers SN02812

Author: Matthew Keep

Topics: Economic situation, Public expenditure

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