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Public Finances: Key Economic Indicators

Published Friday, December 21, 2018

Latest data on government net borrowing and net debt.

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Net borrowing

The Government borrowed £33 billion in the current financial year to date (April to November 2018), £14 billion less than during the same period in 2017. This represents the lowest level of borrowing for April to November since 2002.

Earlier in December, the ONS announced that it is changing how it accounts for student loans. This change isn’t yet reflected in the figures. The ONS aims to implement the change in September 2019.

Public sector net borrowing, % GDP

Net debt

At the end of November 2018 public sector net debt was equivalent to 83.9% of GDP, the same as it was in November 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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