Public Sector Debt

HM Treasury written question – answered on 23rd September 2015.

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Photo of Lord Kinnock Lord Kinnock Labour

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, for each year from 2003–4 to 2014–15 inclusive, (1) what was the national debt, expressed in (a) monetary terms, and (b) as a percentage of gross domestic product, and (2) what interest was paid on that debt, expressed in (a) monetary terms, and (b) in per capita terms.

Photo of Lord Bridges of Headley Lord Bridges of Headley The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office

In 2010 the coalition government inherited a deficit of 10.2 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) – the largest since the Second World War. With such a high deficit, it is inevitable that debt has continued to rise. Over the last parliament the government made substantial progress towards stabilising the public finances, halving the deficit from its post-war peak to 5 per cent of GDP in 2014-15. The Office for Budget Responsibility have forecast that debt as a percentage of GDP peaked in 2014/15, and this year will fall for the first time in 14 years as a result of the government’s actions.

The table below provides Public Sector Net Debt (excluding public sector banks) and debt interest expenditure figures for each year in the period 2003/04 to 2014/15. For net debt, the figures are provided in both nominal terms and as a percentage of GDP; for debt interest, the figures are given in nominal terms and pounds sterling per capita.

Public Sector Net Debt1

Debt Interest2

£ billion

% of GDP

£ billion

£ per capita

2003/04

394.2

31.8

22.0

367

2004/05

449.2

34.4

24.6

407

2005/06

492.0

35.5

26.3

432

2006/07

529.3

36.2

28.6

466

2007/08

561.5

36.9

31.2

505

2008/09

727.7

49.2

31.5

506

2009/10

959.8

62.2

31.6

503

2010/11

1102.5

68.8

46.6

736

2011/12

1192.0

72.3

49.7

780

2012/13

1300.0

76.8

48.9

762

2013/14

1403.2

79.1

48.7

753

2014/15

1486.5

80.8

45.2

696

1: Excluding public sector banks; by convention, GDP is a 12 month average centred at the financial year end. Source: ONS.

2: The per capita figure is calculated by dividing debt interest in £'s by the ONS estimate of the size of the UK population at the financial year end. Note that the population estimate for 2014/15 is a forecast, based on the latest ONS projections. Source: ONS.

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