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Public Finances: Key Economic Indicators

Published Wednesday, November 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 October 2018) was £11 billion lower compared with the same period in 2017. This is equivalent to a decrease of 30% compared with the same period in 2017. The OBR forecast that borrowing will be 36% lower in 2018/19 than in 2017/18.

Public sector net borrowing, % GDP

Net debt

At the end of October 2018 public sector net debt was equivalent to 84.0% of GDP, down from 86.7% of GDP at the end of October 2017. The OBR forecast that net debt will decrease to around 74% of GDP by the end of 2023/24.

Public sector net debt, % GDP


2017/18 and 2018/19 figures are provisional

The ONS’s figures for 2017/18 and 2018/19 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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