uk debt

UK National Debt

The UK national debt is the total amount of money the British government owes to the private sector and other purchasers of UK gilts. In January 2017 UK Public sector net debt is £1,682.8 billion equivalent to 85.3% of GDP Source: (page updated October 22nd 2016) Source: ONS debt as % of GDP – HF6X | PUSF – public sector finances at ONS Budget deficit – annual borrowing This is the amount…

Budget deficit targets

Politicians are often keen on making targets to eliminate budget deficits by a certain year. There is a strong political motivation to be seen as strong and committed to reducing government debt. Politicians who are vague about the debt are often heavily criticised and it is seen as poor politics. An advantage of budget deficit targets is that it ensure politicians have a stronger commitment to make politically difficult choices – raising taxes or cutting spending. However, from an economic perspective targets for reducing budget deficits are not always as…

Government debt under labour 1997-2010

Government debt under labour 1997-2010

If I got a pound for every time someone said ‘it was debt that got us into this mess in the first place’ I could have made a significant contribution to bailing out the Irish banking system. Usually, when people say ‘it’s debt that got us into this mess. They tend to view all types of debt as the same – equating government debt to financial debt incurred from selling sub-prime mortgages in the US. However, this is deeply misleading. The consequence of bad debt defaults in the financial…

The bizarre logic of deficit reduction increasing UK growth

The bizarre logic of deficit reduction increasing UK growth

The Prime Minister has got into a bit of pickle by trying to maintain the view that deficit reduction policies have not reduced economic growth, and in fact have had the opposite effect. “They (are) absolutely clear that the deficit reduction plan is not responsible (for low growth); in fact, quite the opposite.” (link) There is an economic logic to arguing that given the size of  the UK budget deficit, the government need to consider policies to reduce it. Economists will disagree over the timing of deficit…