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Chapter 05: General Government This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 31 July 2013 Download PDF

General government

The general government sector is made up of those units providing services for collective or individual consumption that are not sold at market prices. These units are usually funded by compulsory payments from units in other sectors (taxes) and may be involved in the redistribution of national income (for example, benefits and state pension).

The sector includes, for example, government departments and agencies, local authorities, the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, the state education system, the National Health Service, the armed forces and the police. Non-departmental public bodies are also included in the general government sector.

The United Kingdom National Accounts: The Blue Book 2013 presents estimates for the general government sector and sub-sector breakdowns for:

·      central government,

·      local government.

Further information on sector classifications and classification decisions can be found in the National Account Classification section of the Office for National Statistics website.

Central and local government net lending/borrowing

A positive figure represents net lending, a negative figure net borrowing. In 2012, net borrowing by central government was £94.1 billion, a fall of more than one quarter from £120.4 billion in 2011. Central government has been a net borrower throughout the period 2002 to 2012. Net borrowing increased from £21.7 billion in 2002 to a peak of £153.3 billion in 2009. Since 2009 net borrowing has fallen by more than one third to £94.1 billion in 2012.

Figure 5.1: Annual central government net lending (+) / borrowing (-), 2002 to 2012

This chart shows the annual central government net lending and borrowing, between 2002 and 2012
Source: Office for National Statistics

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In 2012, local government borrowed £4.7 billion, a rise of £3.5 billion from 2011. Since 2004 local government has been a net borrower.

Figure 5.2: Annual local government net lending (+)/borrowing (-), 2002 to 2012

This chart shows the annual local government net lending and borrowing, between 2002 and 2012
Source: Office for National Statistics

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Background notes

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    These National Statistics are produced to high professional standards and released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

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