- The statistics presented in this publication are consistent with the definitions used by the European Commission. They fulfil the legal requirement for the UK (and other EU Member States) to report actual and planned government deficit and debt
- In 2012/13 general government deficit (or net borrowing) was £82.1 billion, equivalent to 5.2% of gross domestic product (GDP) – down from 7.6% of GDP in 2011/12
- These estimates include the impact of two transactions which affect general government net borrowing in 2012/13. The asset purchase facility transfers in Q1 2013 lowered borrowing by £6.4 billion, while the transfer of the Royal Mail to Pension Plan assets in April 2012 reduced borrowing by £28.0 billion. Together the transactions have reduced net borrowing by 2.2% of GDP
- In 2012/13, general government gross consolidated debt (nominal value) was £1,386.7 billion, equivalent to 88.3% of GDP – up from 85.0% in 2011/12
The Government deficit and debt under the Maastricht Treaty statistical bulletin is published every six months, around the end of March and September each year, to coincide with the dates when the UK and other European Union (EU) Member States are required to report to the European Commission their actual and planned government deficit and debt.
The source data for this publication are the same as those used in compiling the monthly Public Sector Finances bulletin. However, there are three main differences between this bulletin and the Public Sector Finances.
This bulletin includes only debt and deficit recorded to central and local government, whereas the Public Sector Finance bulletin also includes measures of other public sector bodies.
This bulletin reports gross debt, that is all financial liabilities of central and local government, whereas the Public Sector Finance bulletin headline figure is net debt, that is the financial liabilities minus liquid assets (mainly in the form of cash deposits).
General government net borrowing as reported in this bulletin differs a little from that in the Public Sector Finances bulletin in order to make it fully consistent with guidance in the Manual on Government Deficit and Debt.
Annex A contains full details of these differences and a quantification of the size.Back to table of contents
Article 126 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (EU) obliges member states to avoid excessive budgetary deficits. The Protocol on the Excessive Deficit Procedure, annexed to the Maastricht Treaty, defines two criteria and reference values with which Member States’ governments should comply. These are:
- a deficit (net borrowing) to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio of 3%
- and a debt to GDP ratio of 60%
The deficit is a measure of how much the government has to borrow to cover its expenditure once revenue has been netted off, for this reason it is also known as net borrowing. The monetary values quoted are in ‘current prices’, that is, they represent the price of borrowing in the year to which they relate without any adjustments for inflation. Thus for comparisons over time the figures as a percentage of GDP (also measured in current prices) are used to provide a comparable time series.
General government net borrowing and gross debt
In 2012/13, the UK government net borrowing (or deficit) stood at £82.1 billion (5.2% of GDP). This is the third reduction in the deficit since 2009/10 when it was £163.5 billion (11.4% of GDP). However, it is still higher than 2007/08 when it was £41.3 billion (2.9% of GDP).
The estimates of net borrowing provided under the Maastricht Treaty for 2012/13 include the impact of the transfer of Royal Mail Pension Plan assets and the Bank of England asset purchase facility. The combined impact of these transactions was to reduce net borrowing by £34.4 billion (or 2.2% of GDP).
In the financial year 2012/13, UK government gross debt was £1,386.7 billion (88.3% of GDP). The general government gross debt first exceeded the ‘excessive deficit’ reference value in 2009/10 when it was 73.1% of GDP.
Government Deficit and Debt
|General government deficit £bn||41.30||100.70||163.50||141.70||117.80||82.10|
|as a percentage of GDP||2.90||7.00||11.40||9.40||7.60||5.20|
|General government debt at nominal values £bn||619.70||800.00||1,046.40||1,185.50||1,315.80||1,386.70|
|as a percentage of GDP||42.80||55.50||73.10||78.90||85.00||88.30|
|Source: Office for National Statistics|
Download this table Government Deficit and Debt.xls (24.1 kB)
Between 1995/96 and 2000/01 gross debt as a percentage of GDP reduced. However, it has risen every year since 2002/03. The long term general government gross debt as a percentage of GDP is illustrated in Figure 1.
General government net borrowing over time
The UK economy was exiting a recession in 1993. Between 1992/93 and 1996/97 net borrowing as a percentage of GDP remained above the 3% to GDP reference value for borrowing. For the three years 1998/99 to 2000/01 general government net borrowing as a percentage of GDP reduced as net borrowing was negative, indicating a surplus. The net borrowing was close to the 3% of GDP reference value for the years 2003/04 to 2007/08. Since then it has been noticeably above the 3% reference value. Government net borrowing as a percentage of GDP is illustrated in Figure 2.
Bank of England Asset Purchase Facility fund
The Chancellor announced on 9 November 2012 that it had been agreed with the Bank of England to transfer to the Exchequer the excess cash in the Asset Purchase Facility Fund. In line with European guidance (from Eurostat) the amount of cash that reduces net borrowing is limited by the entrepreneurial income earned by the Bank of England in the previous year.
In 2012/13, there were £11.3 billion of transfers from the Asset Purchase Facility to HM Treasury. Of this transfer £6.4 billion impacted on net borrowing.
In Q2 2013, £11.7 billion was transferred to HM Treasury. All of this cash impacted on net borrowing. The total amount of cash transferred that affects borrowing is determined by the entrepreneurial income of the Bank of England.
The EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) and UK Carbon Reduction Commitments (CRCs) Energy Efficiency Scheme are two environmental schemes which are administered by the Environment Agency to reduce emissions. Data from both schemes have been included in the statistics included in this release. As the schemes provide revenue to the government (classified as taxes on production in the Non-Financial Account) they reduce net borrowing.
The impact on net borrowing of the revenue from ETS was £57 million, £244 million, £341 million, £257 million in the financial years 2009/10 to 2012/13 respectively. A further payment of £420 million was recorded in April 2013 (2013/14). The first CRC payment of £591 million was accrued to September 2012 and therefore reduced net borrowing in 2012/13.Back to table of contents
All European Union (EU) Member States report their latest deficit and debt values to the European Commission twice a year, which are then published by Eurostat (the European statistical agency). The figures in this statistical bulletin will be published by Eurostat on 21 October2013.
The tables in this bulletin present the UK Government debt and deficit position at the end of both the financial and calendar years. The United Kingdom, uniquely within the European Union, is assessed against the deficit and debt on a financial year basis. In March/April the UK provide their first estimates for the previous calendar year and revised estimates for the previous financial year. In September/October the UK provide revised estimates for the calendar year (2012 in the case of this bulletin) and first estimates for the latest completed financial year (2012/13 in this case).
The UK figures may be compared to those of other EU Member States on the Government Finance Statistics section of the Eurostat website. The latest UK government deficit and debt figures exceed the reference values set out in the Protocol on the Excessive Deficit Procedure. According to the last deficit and debt figures published on 22 April 2013, 15 Member States had a deficit exceeding the 3% reference value, and 14 Member States had gross debts exceeding the 60% reference value in 2012 Q4.
While the key statistics provided to Eurostat are those of general government consolidated gross debt and general government net borrowing (or deficit), detailed datasets showing the components of the debt and deficit statistics, as well as supplementary government finance statistics, are also supplied by Member States. A full set of government finance tables provided by the UK to Eurostat in September / October 2013 will be published on the ONS website on 18 October 2013. A similar set of tables, published as part of the March / April 2013 data transmission, were published on the ONS website on 19 April 2013.Back to table of contents
Table M8R presents the revisions to key aggregates since the last publication in April 2013. Revisions to the data are consistent with revisions incorporated within the Public Sector Finances statistical bulletin since April 2013.
In general, the scale of the revisions is well within what might be reasonably expected based on revisions in previous years. For more information on these revisions see the revisions analysis (81.5 Kb Excel sheet) attached to this release.
Further information on these and other revisions can be found in the PSF statistical bulletin and the summary quality report (201.4 Kb Pdf) relating to EDP and PSF statistics.Back to table of contents
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