29 October 2019
We have identified two issues with the Public Sector Finances release which was originally published on 22 October 2019. These issues have been corrected in this edition.
The main issue affected local government current expenditure and local government net borrowing in the financial year to date, as well as the equivalent general government and public sector measures; including public sector net borrowing. Public sector net borrowing (excluding public sector banks – PSNBex) was overstated by £1.3 billion in the financial year to date (April to September 2019); for September 2019 alone it was overstated by £0.2 billion.
A second, smaller issue involved the handling of public sector pensions data. This affected the current budget deficit (including public sector banks) between the financial year ending (FYE) March 1998 and FYE March 2008, but had no impact on the current budget deficit (excluding public sector banks). The size of the correction for this issue is negligible in each year.
Although GDP is not affected by this error, there will be some small impact on the Sector and Financial Accounts. The corrected data will be taken on in the next release, which is scheduled for December 2019.
The ONS apologises for this error and for any inconvenience.
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5 October 2021
Following publication on 21 September 2021, an error has been found in the Public Sector Finances (PSF): August 2021 release. The error affects data for the period April 2020 to August 2021 inclusive.
Public Sector Net Borrowing (excluding Public Sector Banks – PSNB ex) was overstated by £4.6 billion in the financial year ending March 2021 and £2.5 billion in the financial year-to-August 2021. PSNB is now estimated to have been £320.5 billion in the financial year ending March 2021 and £91.3 billion in the financial year-to-August 2021.
This error was the result of provisional data for the Public Sector Funded Pension Schemes being used in the estimation of the published dataset.
In September 2021, we changed the discount rate used for future pension liabilities from 5% to 4%, taking on a change in international statistical standards. However, in the provisional dataset, the data for April 2020 onwards for these public sector schemes was estimated using the 5% discount rate. In the corrected version, this had been updated, consistent with the 4% rate.
Correcting this error has affected Public Sector Funded Pension Schemes’ net borrowing and so Public Sector Net Borrowing. There has been no impact on net cash requirement or net debt as a result of this correction.
ONS apologises for any inconvenience caused by this error.
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