The national balance sheet is a measure of the national wealth, or total net worth, of the UK. It shows the estimated market value of financial assets, for example, shares and deposits at banks and non-financial assets like dwellings and machinery. Market value is an estimate of how much these assets would sell for, if sold on the market.
The estimates are used for international comparisons, to monitor economic performance and inform monetary and fiscal policy decisions.
Financial assets and liabilities include:
means of payment, such as currency
financial claims, such as loans
economic assets, which are close to financial claims in nature, such as shares
Non-financial assets include:
Produced non-financial assets:
buildings and other structures
machinery and equipment
certain farming stocks, mainly dairy cattle and orchards
intellectual property products, such as computer software and databases, and research and development
valuables, such as works of art and precious stones
contracts, leases and licences
Data sources include:
Office for National Statistics’s (ONS’s) National Balance Sheet Survey
Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy report on local authority assets
annual reports of public corporations and major businesses
other government departments and agencies
Where non-financial asset market valuations are not readily available, we use a proxy based on the UK net capital stocks data, modelled in the perpetual inventory method (PIM).
For central government, data are taken from returns made by government departments to HM Treasury.
Local authority housing is shown in the public non-financial corporations sector. This is because government-owned market activities are always treated as being carried out by public corporations, either in their own right or via quasi-corporations.Back to table of contents