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Government borrowing

The OBR published new forecasts on 15 March 2023. It expects government borrowing to rise this year and then fall in each year of the five-year forecast. The OBR’s forecasts for borrowing have been lowered in all but one year, compared with the November 2022 forecast.

Public sector net borrowing, % GDP

Government debt

Government debt was equivalent to 99.2% of GDP at the end of February 2023. The OBR forecast it will reach 103% of GDP at the end of 2023/24 but will fall in subsequent years. If we remove the Bank of England’s (BoE’s) debt, we get an alternative measure of government’s underlying debt. Government debt (excluding the BoE) was 87.7% of GDP at the end of February 2023. The OBR forecast that it will rise to close to 95% of GDP, before falling in 2027/28.

Public sector net debt, % GDP

Definitions and notes

The ONS’s figures for 2021/22 and 2022/23 are provisional: they’re not final figures and may be revised as provisional data are replaced with final audited data.

Net borrowing – often described as the deficit – is the difference between what the government spends and what it receives in taxes over a particular time period.

Net debt is the total amount that the public sector owes – it is largely the stock of past borrowing.

All figures exclude public sector banks.

Further information

Find all of the Library’s research on the Spring Budget 2023 in one place.

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