The National Balance Sheet is a measure of the wealth, or total net worth, of the UK. It shows the estimated market value of net financial worth, for example shares and deposits, and non-financial assets, for example dwellings and machinery. Market value is an estimate of how much these assets would sell for, if sold on the market. Estimates in this publication are at current prices and periodicity is annual
At the end of 2013, the net worth of the UK was estimated at £7.6 trillion. This was equivalent to an average of £119,000 per person or £289,000 per household
Dwellings remained the most valuable non-financial asset in the UK. Dwellings have increased in value in recent years, except for a fall in 2008. At the end of 2013 they accounted for 61% of the UK's net worth
The main reason for the increase in the net worth of the UK in 2013 was financial corporations. This sector increased by £421 billion (373%) in 2013. The most valuable financial transaction in this sector was loans with a financial net worth of £1.8 trillion
Non-financial corporations provided the largest downward pressure on UK net worth between 2012 and 2013. This can be mainly attributed to a decrease (37%) in ‘equity and investment fund shares/units’
This annual bulletin provides estimates of the market value of financial and non-financial assets in the UK for 2013 without removing the effects of inflation. The National Balance Sheet is a measure of the wealth of the UK and is available by institutional sector, for example households and non-financial corporations, and type of asset, for example dwellings, transport equipment and loans. The data are used to monitor economic performance, to inform monetary and fiscal policy decisions and for international comparisons.
These estimates are consistent with the 2014 United Kingdom National Accounts (Blue Book) and estimates include European System of Accounts (ESA) 2010 changes. The ESA changes introduced new assets on research and development and weapons systems, which increased UK net worth across the time series.
Estimates are available for the period 1997 to 2013. ONS is working to extend the net capital stock dataset back beyond 1997. This will enable a longer time series of national balance sheet estimates.
The institutional sector and asset breakdown of non-financial corporations (S.11), into public corporations (S.11001) and private non-financial corporations (S.11PR) are unavailable from the capital stocks dataset. As a result, these data, and the totals that are derived from these data, are not shown in the tables accompanying this bulletin.
As part of the continuous improvement process, some data for previous years has been revised; further details are available in the background notes section.
The dataset for this bulletin is available in the accompanying spreadsheet as well as in Chapter 10 of the United Kingdom National Accounts: Blue Book. Background notes provide information on coverage, quality and how to use the data.Back to table of contents
Without removing the effects of inflation, estimates of UK net worth more than doubled from 1997 to 2013. Since 1997 they have risen consistently, with the exception of the economic downturn in 2008 and 2009.
At the end of 2013, the UK was valued at an estimated £7.6 trillion, an increase of 4% (£324 billion) from 2012, which continued the long-term upward pattern. This is consistent with the continued growth in gross domestic product (GDP) during 2013. Non-financial assets increased in value by £343 billion (5%) while net financial assets and liabilities decreased in value by £19 billion (8%). The increase in non-financial assets was largely (61%) due to dwellings.
UK total net worth was equivalent to an average £119,000 per person in 2013.
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Households and non-profit institutions serving households (NPISH) sector
The households and NPISH sector had an estimated net worth of £8.5 trillion in 2013, making it the institutional sector with the highest total net worth. This was equivalent to an average of £320,000 per household. NPISH consists of organisations such as charities, universities, churches and trade unions, which provide services to households either free or at non-economically significant prices.
The most valuable assets in this sector were dwellings (£4.4 trillion; 52% of this sector's net worth), insurance, pension and standardised guarantee schemes (£3.1 trillion: 36%) and currency and deposits (£1.4 trillion; 16%).
Non-financial corporations, which are companies other than financial institutions such as banks, had an estimated total net worth of minus £1,186 billion at the end of 2013.
The estimated net financial worth has decreased since 1997 by £1.6 trillion (98%). This meant that non-financial corporations owed nearly twice as much in current prices at the end of 2013 than they did at the end of 1997.
Between the end of 2012 and 2013, the estimated financial value of assets decreased by £425 billion (16%). This was from a decrease of £468 billion (37%) in the net worth of ‘equity and investment fund shares/units’, which was partly offset by increases in the net worth of other financial assets and liabilities. ‘Equity and investment fund shares/units’ decreased due to private non-financial corporations (PNFCs) increasing their liabilities in UK unlisted shares as well as reducing their assets by lowering the level of shares held.
Financial corporations, which include banks, had an estimated total net worth of £533 billion at the end of 2013, an increase of £671 billion since the end of 1997.
The increase of £415 billion in net financial worth in 2013 since 2012 was the largest annual increase in financial corporations in the period 1997 to 2013. This was a result of the net financial worth ‘debt securities’, ‘equity and investment fund shares/units’ and ‘insurance, pension and standardised guarantee schemes’ all increasing by over £150 billion each in the period 2012 to 2013. These increases were partly offset by decreases in other assets.
General, central and local government
General government continued to place downwards pressure on the UK net worth at the end of 2013. The estimated net worth of the general government sector was minus £158 billion, meaning that the Government owed more than it owned in assets.
General government’s net financial worth decreased by £13 billion in 2013, its lowest annual decrease since 2003. General government’s non-financial assets increased by £37 billion (4%) between 2012 and 2013, mainly due to an increase in the value of other buildings and structures (£28 billion).
Central government net worth is estimated to have declined in every year since 2001. Figure 2 shows that, without removing the effects of inflation, central government’s estimated net worth was minus £663 billion at the end of 2013, a decrease of 0.2% on the previous year and over eight times less than its net worth in 2006 (£82 billion).
Local government net worth has increased gradually since 2001 with the exception of decreases in 2002, 2008 and 2009.Back to table of contents
It is not possible in this section to write commentary on every asset collected as part of the national balance sheet. Instead, the focus is placed on four assets:
other buildings and structures
machinery, equipment and weapons systems
financial derivatives and employee stock options
Dwellings remained the most valuable non-financial asset in the UK. They have steadily increased in value in recent years, except for a decrease in 2008. In 2013 their value was estimated at £4.7 trillion, over three times their estimated value in 1997 (£1.4 trillion), without removing the effects of inflation. The household and NPISH sector accounts for 95% of this asset’s value. The increase in the value of dwellings was influenced by changes in the market values placed on these assets. Between the end of 1997 and the end of 2013, the simple average house price in the UK increased by 234% in comparison to the asset dwellings which increased by 227%.
Other buildings and structures
The estimated value of ‘other buildings and structures’ increased by £86 billion (5%) to £1.7 trillion at the end of 2013 compared with 2012. ‘Other buildings and structures’ includes non-residential buildings such as warehouses as well as other structures such as roads, railways, pipelines, bridges and sports stadiums.
The estimated value of ‘other buildings and structures’ has increased each year since 1997 with the exception of 2008, 2009 and 2012. Without removing the effects of inflation, at the end of 2013 these assets were worth over 80% more than their value in 1997.
Machinery, equipment and weapons systems
This asset includes transport equipment, ICT equipment and other machinery, equipment and weapons systems and had a net worth of £814 billion at the end of 2013, an increase of £14 billion (2%) since 2012. There has been steady growth in the value of this asset since 1997, although it has grown more slowly over the period 1997 to 2013 than the other groups of assets in Figure 3.
The ESA10 inclusion of weapons systems in this asset grouping added between £26 billion to £44 billion per year in market value, between 1997 and 2013.
Financial derivatives and employee stock options
A derivative is a contract between two parties whose price is dependent upon one or more underlying assets, such as gold or exchange rates. Derivatives are used to manage risk or for speculation. Activity in these types of financial products often increase at times of uncertainty with financial markets. The estimated value of both the assets and liabilities of financial derivatives decreased by 20% between the end of 2012 and 2013. They remained, however, at a level of nearly twice their 2007 value.Back to table of contents
The G7 grouping of major countries has been used to compare the UK with other major economies. Data for net worth, non-financial assets and fixed assets were not available for all the countries shown; Figure 4 therefore shows the ‘produced fixed assets’ for these countries.
Figure 4 shows that all of the G7 countries experienced positive growth in their fixed assets over the period 1997 to 2012 with the exception of the economic downturn in 2008 and 2009.
Figure 5 shows the net worth of G7 economies per person in 2012 converted into pounds sterling. The UK had the highest estimate per person at £115 thousand at the end of 2012, whilst Canada had the lowest at £73 thousand per person at the end of 2012.
Figure 6 shows the financial net worth of G7 economies at the end of 2012 converted into pounds sterling. Japan had the highest financial net worth at £2.2 trillion, while France had the lowest (minus £0.3 trillion). A positive financial net worth means that the value of the financial assets out-weigh the value of the liabilities. At the end of 2012 the UK along with Canada, Italy and France had a negative financial net worth. This means that these countries owed more than they held in assets.
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Table 1: Estimated UK total net worth by sector, at end 2013
|Households and NPISH||8455.1|
|Of which: Central government||-663.0|
|Of which: Local government||505.2|
|Source: Office for National Statistics|
|1. Figures may not sum to total due to rounding|
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Table 2: Financial assets, end 2013, at market value
|Asset value||Liability value||Net value|
|Monetary gold and special drawing rights||16||9||7|
|Currency and deposits||6,423||6,577||-155|
|Equity and investment fund shares/units||4,704||4,459||245|
|Insurance, pension and standardised guarantee schemes||4,020||4,033||-14|
|Financial derivatives and employee stock options||5,524||5,477||48|
|Other accounts receivable/payable||434||424||11|
|Source: Office for National Statistics|
|1. Figures may not sum due to rounding|
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