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Government borrowing

Government borrowed £121 billion in 2023/24, according to the ONS’s second provisional estimate, which is equivalent to 4.5% of GDP. Borrowing is around £6.4 billion lower than in 2022/23, but £7.3 billon higher than the OBR forecast in March 2024.

Public sector net borrowing, % GDP

Government debt

Government debt was equivalent to 97.9% of GDP at the end of April 2024. It was 95.4% of GDP at the end of April 2023.

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 89.9% of GDP at the end of April 2024. It was 85.5% of GDP a year before, at the end of April 2023. 

Public sector net debt, % GDP

Definitions and notes

The ONS’s figures for 2023/24 and 2024/25 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 2024 Spring Budget in one place.


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