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Government borrowing

The OBR published new forecasts on 22 November 2023. It expects government borrowing to fall in each year of the five-year forecast. The OBR’s forecasts for borrowing aren’t greatly changed from its previous forecast. On average, borrowing is forecast to be £0.7 billion lower a year compared with the March 2023 forecast.

 Public sector net borrowing, % GDP

Government debt

Government debt was equivalent to 97.8% of GDP at the end of October 2023. The OBR forecast it will reach 98.6% of GDP at the end of 2024/25 but will fall in subsequent years.

If we remove the Bank of England’s (BoE’s) debt, we get an alternative measure of government’s underlying debt. Government debt (excluding the BoE) was 88.6% of GDP at the end of October 2023. The OBR forecast that it will rise to close to over 93% of GDP, before falling to 92.8% of GDP in 2028/29.

Public sector net debt, % GDP

Definitions and notes

The ONS’s figures for 2022/23 and 2023/24 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.

Further information

Find all of the Library’s research on the 2023 Autumn Statement in one place.

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