Reality Check: The Size of UK Government Debt

Bank of England

The federal government owes £1.8.1 trillion, up from about £1 trillion in 2018/19.

It is common to compare government financial debt to the particular size of Britain’s economic system (Gross domestic product). A National Statistics says that it is worth about 86% of Gross domestic product, up from 68% in May 2019.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) expects financial debt to start decreasing as a percentage of Gross domestic product from this financial year onwards. (Source)

We are estimating the main standard measure of federal government debt: public sector net financial debt excluding financial institutions.

This is exactly what the federal government owes to the private sector. It does not include bad debts between different divisions of the state – in other words, it does not count what the federal government owes itself – or the financial obligations of banks owned by the federal government. Ultimately, a public sector will have to plan a National Debt Help for the general public and private sector at the same time to reduce the debt load. (Office for National Statistics: Source 1, Source 2, Source 3, Source 4)

Deficit Versus Debt

It should not be confused with the federal deficit.

The deficit is actually the main difference between the government’s spending and government income. It is actually the amount the federal government has to borrow every year.

Debt is actually the total amount of money payable at some point, most of which consists of giltsauctioned by the federal government.

Borrowing funds to cover the debts increase the total stock of national financial debt.

When Does It Need to Be Paid Back?

In one good sense, it does not. Federal government gilts are released on a date when they’ve to be returned, but at that time the federal government can simply issue new gilts to pay for the old ones – as long as stock investors are happy to purchase them.

What is expensive is actually the interest rates the federal government has to make at the same time. About 6% of the federal government budget goes when it comes to paying interest on the national financial debt.

Size Doesn’t Matter

Comparing GDP to debt has a couple of big benefits over looking at the particular size of the debt alone.

Firstly, it gives a good sense of how financial debt compares between different sized countries. Secondly, it gives a good sense of how financial debt has changes over time since the UK’s economic productivity has increased.

There is a perspective that the GDP-to-debt percentage indicates whether the country will probably encounter economic issues. The bigger a country’s gross domestic product, the easier it truly is for the country to back up high federal government debt.

However, studying the general size of federal government debt will not show you a full picture of its importance.

For example, America has a fairly high GDP-to-debt ratio, when compared with other countries. But no-one believes that the United States of America is going to fall behind on its loans – they are actually considered one of the most trusted investments in the world.

So long as people feel that a federal government pays the interest on its financial obligations, that it will not abruptly fall behind on them, and that they will be able to sell their possession of the financial debt easily whenever they have to, people will certainly continue lending that federal government funds.