Health care spending in the UK

health care spending % GDP

Since 1950, health care spending in the UK has increased dramatically in real terms (adjusted for inflation). In the post-war period, we have also seen a sharp rise in public health care spending as a % of GDP (from 3% in 1960 to 7.8% in 2010). This matches a global rise in health care spending. …

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UK Government spending – real and as % of GDP

In 2015/16 the UK government is forecast to spend a total of £753 billion.


Source: HMT public spending statistics (May 2017)

Also see: HM Treasury PESA (released 21 July annually

Real term trends in public spending

Source: HMT public spending statistics (May 2017)

   UK Pension spending

More details on pension spending.

Government spending as % of GDP


Years 2018/19/20, forecasts

Forecasts of Government spending from Autumn Statement of Dec. 2014


Source: OBR, Dec 2014

This is outdated, but I leave in because it illustrates how chancellor George Osborne hoped strong economic growth would enable government spending to fall to 35% of GDP by 2018/19. However, that will not happen because of lower than expected growth and unexpected government spending.


Government borrowing


Background to government spending

In 2000-01, several years of government spending restraint combined with rising economic growth, saw government spending shrink to under 35% of GDP. Between 2001 and 2007-08, spending rose to over 40% of GDP due to sustained increases in spending on health, education and welfare spending.

  • Between 2008-09 and 2009-10, the UK saw a large drop in real GDP of 6%, but due to automatic stabilisers government spending increased (e.g. higher unemployment benefits). This caused government spending as % of GDP to rise to 47%.
  • Government spending as % of GDP is forecast to fall closer to 40% of GDP by 2016-17 (if growth targets are met)

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Is austerity necessary?


Since 2010, the UK economy has been dominated by spending cuts and the desire to run a budget surplus as soon as possible. In the political world, the government deficit is often portrayed as the source of many economic ills and eliminating the deficit one of the highest macro objectives. However the government deficit (see: …

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How is government spending rising at a time of spending cuts?

Readers Question: Why are there government spending cuts at a time of rising government spending? One of the confusing elements of ‘austerity’ and government spending cuts is that from one perspective, we can have a rise in total government spending – but some areas of government spending see cuts. Source: ONS Public Sector Finances MF6U …

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