House of Commons Library

Public Finances: Key Economic Indicators

Published Friday, August 23, 2019

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 July 2019) was £16.0 billion. This is £6.0 billion more than during the same period in 2018/19.

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.

Net debt

At the end of July 2019, public sector net debt was equivalent to 82.4% of GDP which is lower than at the end of July 2018, when the debt-to-GDP ratio was 83.7%. The OBR forecast that net debt will decrease to around 73% of GDP by the end of 2023/24.

Definitions and notes

The ONS’s figures for 2018/19 and 2019/20 are provisional: they’re not final figures and may be revised as provisional data are replaced with final 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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