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Public Finances: Key Economic Indicators

Published Thursday, March 14, 2019

Latest data on government net borrowing and net debt.

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Net borrowing

The OBR published their latest forecasts for the public finances on 13 March. The OBR forecasts that the Government will borrow £22.8 billion this year. By 2023/24, they expect borrowing to fall to £13.5 billion. Lower borrowing is forecast in every year of the five-year forecast period, compared with the OBR’s October 2018 forecast.

In December 2018, the ONS announced that it will change how it accounts for student loans. The change isn’t yet reflected in the borrowing figures, the ONS aims to implement it in September 2019.

Public sector net borrowing, % GDP

Net debt

At the end of January 2019 public sector net debt was equivalent to 82.6% of GDP which is lower than at the end of January 2018, when the debt-to-GDP ratio was 83.4%. The OBR forecast that net debt will decrease to around 73% of GDP by the end of 2023/24.

Public sector net debt, % GDP



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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