What is the difference between Government borrowing and debt? What's the current state of public finances? Does it matter that debt is currently at 85% of GDP? And what effect might Brexit have?

Talking us through key issues around public finances this week is Commons Library Economic Policy Specialist, Matt Keep, who spoke to us on 27 March 2019.

To go straight to the answers that interest you the most skip to:

  • What is the difference between Government borrowing and Government debt? (0:39)
  • What is the current state of Government borrowing? (1:04)
  • How does current Government borrowing levels compare to when the UK was in recession? (1:41)
  • What measures have been used to bring borrowing down? (2:13)
  • Have any Government departments been particularly affected by these measures? (3:14)
  • Have high levels of borrowing following the recession increased levels of debt? (3:40)
  • Does debt at 85% of GDP pose a problem? (4:42)
  • What did we learn about borrowing and debt from the March 2019 Spring Statement? (6:04)
  • Have changes to how student loans are accounted by the Office for National Statistics been included in borrowing figures yet? (9:11)
  • When are they likely to be included? (10:02)
  • Is the Government on track to spend no more than it receives in income by 2025 – as set out by the Chancellor in last year’s Autumn Budget? (10:27)
  • What are the Opposition’s proposed targets for public finances? (12:29)
  • What can we say about the potential impact of Brexit on public finances?
    • Short-term impact (13:33)
    • Long-term impact (16:34)
  • Other than Brexit, what other future challenges might there be for the UK’s public finances? (19:08)

Further reading

To dig deeper into the issues discussed in this episode, you might find the following Commons Library briefings and Insights useful:

More in this series