UK Government Debt

The good news is that in 2012, general government deficit (or net borrowing) was £97.8 billion, equivalent to 6.3% of gross domestic product (GDP) – down from 7.8% of GDP in 2011 and 10.2% of GDP in 2010.
The bad news is that at end December 2012, general government gross consolidated debt at nominal value was £1,387.4 billion, equivalent to 90.0% of GDP – up from 85.5% at end of 2011 and 79.4% at end of 2010.

The full story on the debt statistics can be found at the Office of National Statistics.

I have extracted from the full 23 page statistics package ( ONS link above) two graphs which I think present both todays challenge in terms of reducing Government debt and highlighting the timing of the escalation of the dept problem which we are now facing.

Starting with Fig 2

This is showing the UK’s Net Borrowing, that is the differences between our earnings and our expenditure.

This shows that, for a short period between 1999 and 2001, the UK was clearly in the black making more than expenditure, remember UK selling Gold,did that help??

Between 2002 and 2007 the UK deficit averaged around the 3% of gross domestic product and then 2008 the banking disaster and Government borrowing soured to over 11% of GDP in 2009.

The trend since 2009 is going in the right direction. At the current rate of decline we should be back borrowing below the 2007 levels by 2016. To eliminate borrowing it will take another 5 or 6 years.

That is Good News.

Moving to Fig 1 a different view on the same story.

Because of our continued year on year borrowing over the years our total debt continues to increase and even as the annual borrowing have started to decrease, the gross debt has not yet started to decrease and currently stands at a value of £1,387.4 billion or about 90% of GDP. Although this number is huge, it does need to be looked at from a historical point to maybe remind ourselves that we have been here before. The website has an interesting page on UK debt many years even going back to 1600!! Well worth a read.

The political influences and decisions on these statistics can be discussed, argued and debated by people far more knowledgeable than myself, but feel free to share your thoughts here.

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