UK National Debt Breaches 100% of GDP for First Time Since 1961

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the United Kingdom’s (UK) public sector net debt exceeded 100% of its GDP in May. This is the first time this has happened since 1961. The debt, which doesn’t include state-controlled banks, reached £2.567 trillion ($3.28 trillion), making up 100.1% of the country’s GDP. Government borrowing in May was slightly lower than in April but still higher than expected. Meanwhile, inflation remained stable, contrary to predictions of a decrease.

Public Sector Net Debt Surpasses 100% of GDP

  • The UK‘s public sector net debt, excluding state-controlled banks, has reached a significant milestone.
  • According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the debt has climbed to £2.567 trillion, which is equivalent to 100.1% of the country’s GDP.
  • This is the first time since 1961 that the UK has seen its debt rise to such a high level compared to its economic output.

Government Borrowing Exceeds Expectations

  • In terms of government borrowing, the ONS has reported that in May, the government borrowed £20.045 billion.
  • This amount exceeded the expectations of economists who participated in a Reuters poll, where the consensus was set at £19.5 billion.
  • Although this borrowing figure was slightly lower than April’s, it was more than double the borrowing level recorded in May 2022.
  • Furthermore, it stood as the second-highest borrowing ever recorded for the month of May since records began.

Economist Divya Sridhar from PwC noted that this substantial borrowing could have implications for increased government spending. Higher debt interest payments and inflation-linked benefits and tax credits may necessitate additional expenditures.

Steady Inflation Adds Pressure

  • The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that the annual inflation rate in the UK remained unchanged in May, contrary to expectations of a slight decrease.
  • This news has put additional pressure on both the government and consumers.
  • The steady inflation rate is expected to have implications for increased spending, as it will result in higher debt interest payments and adjustments to inflation-linked benefits and tax credits.


What is the UK’s GDP?

The UK’s GDP in 2022 was approximately 2.2 trillion British pounds. This makes the UK the sixth-largest economy in the world, behind the United States, China, Japan, Germany, and India.

What are the main drivers of UK GDP growth?

The main drivers of UK GDP growth are the service sector, manufacturing, and construction. The service sector is the largest sector of the UK economy, accounting for over 71% of GDP. The manufacturing sector is the second-largest sector, accounting for about 18% of GDP. The construction sector is the third-largest sector, accounting for about 6% of GDP.

What are the main challenges facing the UK economy?

The main challenges facing the UK economy are Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic, and rising inflation. Brexit has had a negative impact on the UK economy, as it has led to increased uncertainty and disruption to trade. The COVID-19 pandemic has also had a negative impact on the UK economy, as it has led to a decline in economic activity. Rising inflation is another challenge facing the UK economy, as it is putting pressure on household incomes and businesses.


  • Shubham Mittal

    Shubham Mittal is a renowned current affairs writer and expert in government exam preparation, inspiring readers with insightful articles and guiding aspirants with his expertise.

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