Public sector finances, UK: October 2022

How the relationship between UK public sector monthly income and expenditure leads to changes in deficit and debt.

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This is an accredited National Statistic. Click for information about types of official statistics.

Cyswllt:
Email Fraser Munro

Dyddiad y datganiad:
22 November 2022

Cyhoeddiad nesaf:
21 December 2022

1. Other pages in this release

Other commentary from the latest public sector finances data can be found on the following pages:

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2. Main points

  • In October 2022, the public sector spent more than it received in taxes and other income, requiring it to borrow (public sector net borrowing, PSNB ex) £13.5 billion, which was £4.4 billion more than in October 2021 and the fourth highest October borrowing since monthly records began in 1993.

  • Public sector total expenditure was £91.2 billion in October 2022; of this, central government current (or day-to-day) spending was £76.8 billion, £6.5 billion more than in October 2021.

  • This month we have recorded the first indemnity payment from HM Treasury to the Bank of England Asset Purchase Facility Fund and the first payments under the government's energy support schemes to households and to domestic energy suppliers.

  • Public sector receipts were £77.6 billion in October 2022; of this, central government tax receipts were £51.7 billion, £2.5 billion more than in October 2021.

  • PSNB ex was £84.4 billion in the financial year to October 2022; this was £21.7 billion less than in the same period last year, but £35.6 billion more than in the financial year to October 2019, and is the fifth highest financial year to October borrowing since monthly records began in 1993.

  • Central government net cash requirement (excluding UK Asset Resolution Ltd and Network Rail) was £8.6 billion in October 2022, which was £6.0 billion more than in October 2021; this brought the total to £51.7 billion for the financial year to October 2022.

  • Public sector net debt excluding public sector banks (PSND ex) was £2,459.9 billion at the end of October 2022, or around 97.5% of gross domestic product (GDP), which was an increase of £148.3 billion, or a decrease of 0.5 percentage points of GDP, compared with October 2021.

  • Public sector net debt excluding public sector banks and the Bank of England (PSND ex BoE) was £2,150.5 billion at the end of October 2022, or around 85.2% of GDP, which was an increase of £135.4 billion, but a reduction of 0.2 percentage points of GDP, compared with October 2021.

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3. Borrowing in October 2022

Initial estimates for October 2022 show that the public sector spent more than it received in taxes and other income, requiring it to borrow £13.5 billion.

Breakdowns of public sector net borrowing by both sub-sector and transaction are presented in our Public sector finances borrowing by sub-sector dataset.

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On 17 November 2022, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) published its latest outlook for the economy and public sector finances. The statistics in this bulletin do not yet reflect these updated forecasts, although where possible, we have updated our tables and charts to reflect the latest comparisons.

Central government forms the largest part of the public sector. The relationship between its receipts and expenditure is the main determinant of public sector current budget deficit and borrowing.

Central government receipts

Central government receipts in October 2022 were estimated to have been £70.2 billion, which was £0.7 billion less than in October 2021. Of these receipts, tax revenue increased by £2.5 billion to £51.7 billion.

Bank of England Asset Purchase Facility Fund

Since January 2013, HM Treasury has received regular payments from the Bank of England Asset Purchase Facility Fund (APF) under the indemnity agreement. These payments have now stopped. As a result, central government interest and dividend receipts in October 2022 were estimated to be £1.1 billion, a reduction of £4.3 billion compared with October 2021.

As with other such payments, intra-public sector transfers are public sector net borrowing neutral. However, any reduction in central government receipts will increase our public sector net borrowing excluding the Bank of England (PSNB ex BoE) measure.

Central government expenditure

Central government bodies spent £76.8 billion on current (or day-to-day) expenditure in October 2022, which was £6.5 billion more than in October 2021.

Energy Bills Support Scheme

The Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) is a government scheme giving households in Great Britain (with a domestic electricity contract) £400 towards the cost of their energy bills.

It is paid in six evenly spread portions between October 2022 and March 2023. This month sees the first tranche of EBSS payments, with £1.9 billion of central government expenditure recorded as a current transfer from government to households, and presented within the Other Expenditure category in Tables 3 and 7.

Energy Price Guarantee schemes

In September 2022, the UK Government announced plans to help households and businesses manage the cost of energy. These include the Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) for households and the Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS) for businesses across the UK.

This month sees the first tranche of payments under the scheme for households, with the associated central government expenditure recorded within the Subsidies - Other category in Tables 3 and 7. This month's figure is an initial indicative estimate, which will be revised over the coming months.

Payments for the EBRS for businesses will also be recorded as subsidies, but no estimate is yet available for the October 2022 amount.

Bank of England Asset Purchase Facility Fund

This month the Bank of England Asset Purchase Facility Fund (APF) received its first payment from HM Treasury under the indemnity agreement (previous payments were made by the APF to HM Treasury).

This £0.8 billion of central government expenditure has been recorded as a capital transfer to the Bank of England, a component of the Net Investment category in Tables 3 and 7.

As with other such payments, intra-public sector transfers are public sector net borrowing neutral. However, this increase in central government expenditure will increase our PSNB ex BoE measure.

Interest payable on central government debt

Since mid-2021, the cost of servicing central government debt has increased considerably. These rising costs do not principally reflect recent increases in the level of government debt, nor is the change in servicing costs driven by large increases in the interest - or coupon - payments by government. Instead, the recent high levels of debt interest payable are largely a result of higher inflation, with the interest payable on index-linked gilts rising in line with the Retail Prices Index (RPI).

In October 2022, the interest payable on central government debt was £6.1 billion; £3.3 billion reflected the impact of the RPI.

The inflation-linked portion of interest payable on most index-linked gilts is calculated using a three-month lagged RPI. In October 2022, we reference the RPI movement between July and August 2022. We will reflect RPI increases in the most recent months in our interest estimates for future months.

While any RPI uplift will affect accrued expenditure (as used in the calculation of borrowing), it will not be wholly and immediately reflected in the central government net cash requirement. These movements are reflected in the government's liabilities, which will be realised as the existing stock of index-linked gilts is redeemed.

On 18 July 2022, we published our The calculation of interest payable on government gilts methodology.

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4. Borrowing in the financial year to October 2022

Public sector net borrowing excluding public sector banks (PSNB ex) was £84.4 billion in the financial year (FY) to October 2022, £21.7 billion less than in the same period last year.

The latest forecast published by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) in its Economic and fiscal outlook - November 2022 estimates that the public sector will borrow £177.0 billion in the FY ending March 2023, £92.6 billion more than in the seven months to October 2022.

Public sector current budget deficit

The public sector current budget deficit is the gap between current expenditure and current receipts on an accrued basis, having taken account of depreciation. The current budget deficit can be thought of as borrowing to fund day-to-day spending, as it excludes the capital expenditure (or net investment) present in the wider net borrowing measure.

Central government receipts

Central government receipts in the financial year (FY) to October 2022 were £507.9 billion, which was £53.2 billion more than a year earlier. Of these, tax receipts were £371.8 billion, which was £38.3 billion more than in the FY to October 2021.

Central government expenditure

Central government bodies spent £543.5 billion on current (or day-to-day) expenditure in the FY to October 2022, which was £17.7 billion more than in the same seven-month period last year.

In April 2022, we recorded the Council Tax rebate in England as a payable tax credit from central government to households. This payment was recorded within the Other Expenditure category in Table 7, and the additional expenditure increased central government and consequently public sector net borrowing by £3.0 billion in April 2022.

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5. Borrowing in the financial year ending March 2022

The public sector borrowed £132.7 billion in the financial year ending (FYE) March 2022. This was £4.9 billion more than the £127.8 billion forecast by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) in its Economic and fiscal outlook - March 2022. However, this was substantially less than the £312.4 billion borrowed in the FYE March 2021.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had a substantial impact on the economy as well as public sector borrowing. Expressed as a ratio of UK gross domestic product (GDP), borrowing in the FYE March 2021 was 15.0%, which was the highest for 75 years. Our latest estimates indicate that this ratio fell by 9.3 percentage points to 5.7% over the 12 months to March 2022.

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6. Central government net cash requirement

The central government net cash requirement (CGNCR), excluding UK Asset Resolution Ltd and Network Rail, is the amount of cash needed immediately for the UK government to meet its obligations. To obtain cash, the UK government sells financial instruments, gilts or Treasury Bills.

The amount of cash required will be affected by changes in the timing of payments to and from central government, but it does not depend on forecast tax receipts in the same way as our accrued (or national accounts-based) measures of borrowing.

The CGNCR consequently contains the timeliest information and is less susceptible to revision than other statistics in this release.

However, as for any cash measure, the CGNCR does not reflect the overall amount the government is liable for or the point at which any liability is incurred - it only reflects when cash is received and spent.

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7. Debt

Public sector net debt excluding public sector banks (PSND ex) was £2,459.9 billion at the end of October 2022, which was an increase of £148.3 billion compared with October last year.

The extra funding required by government over the course of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, combined with reduced cash receipts and a fall in gross domestic product (GDP), have all helped to push public sector net debt at the end of October 2022 to 97.5% of GDP.

Debt is largely made up of gilts (or bonds) issued to investors by central government. Of the £2,083.3 billion gilts in circulation at the end of October 2022:

  • £1,528.1 billion are conventional gilts that pay a fixed interest rate

  • £555.3 billion are index-linked gilts that pay an interest rate pegged to the Retail Prices Index (RPI) and are recorded at their redemption value

These gilts are auctioned by the Debt Management Office (DMO) in accordance with its financing remit, on behalf of central government.

The Bank of England's contribution to debt

The Bank of England's (BoE) contribution to public sector net debt is largely a result of its quantitative easing activities. These include both the gilt-purchasing activities and corporate bond holdings of the Asset Purchase Facility Fund (APF) and loans made under Term Funding Schemes (TFS).

Our measure of public sector net debt excluding the public sector banks and the Bank of England (PSND ex BoE) removes the debt impact of these schemes along with the other transactions relating to the normal operations of the BoE. Standing at £2,150.5 billion at the end of October 2022 (or around 85.2% of GDP), PSND ex BoE was £309.4 billion (or 12.3 percentage points of GDP) less than PSND ex.

Quantitative easing

On 28 September 2022, the BoE announced an intervention in the market in order to maintain financial stability through the temporary purchase of long-dated UK Government bonds (gilts). As these gilt market operations are very similar to those used by the BoE in its quantitative easing, we have recorded these additional temporary gilt holdings within our APF estimates.

The APF's gilt holdings currently stand at £751.8 billion (at redemption value), an increase of £21.1 billion compared with September 2022. For more information of their market operations, see the Bank of England's Results and usage data.

It is important to understand that this £751.8 billion gilt holding is not recorded directly as a component of public sector net debt. Instead, in October 2022, we record the £105.4 billion difference between the £857.1 billion of reserves created to purchase gilts (at market value) and the £751.8 billion redemption value of the gilts purchased.

Table PSA9A in our Public sector finances tables 1 to 10: Appendix A presents the impact of both APF and TFS as a part of the BoE's contribution to public sector net debt.

Public sector net financial liabilities

Public sector net financial liabilities excluding public sector banks (PSNFL ex) provides a more comprehensive measure of the public sector balance sheet. It captures a wider range of financial assets and liabilities than recorded in PSND ex, such as the assets held under the TFS, which fall outside the boundary of PSND ex.

PSNFL ex was £2,134.8 billion at the end of October 2022 (or around 84.6% of GDP), which was £325.1 billion (or 12.9 percentage points of GDP) less than PSND ex.

Table PSNFL 3, published as a part of our Public sector finances tables 1 to 10: Appendix A, provides a reconciliation between the latest measures of PSND ex and PSNFL ex.

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8. Revisions

The data for the latest months of every release contain a degree of forecasts. Subsequently, these are replaced by improved forecasts, as further data are made available, and finally by outturn data.

Revisions to net borrowing (PSNB ex) in the financial year to September 2022

Since our last public sector finances bulletin on 21 October 2022, we have reduced our estimate of borrowing in the financial year to September 2022 by £1.6 billion.

This change was largely a result of an increase of £1.0 billion to central government interest and dividend receipts because of the late inclusion of the Royal Bank of Scotland (a part of the NatWest Group plc) dividend paid to HM Treasury on 16 September 2022.

Revisions to net borrowing (PSNB ex) in earlier financial years

Since our last bulletin, we have reduced our estimate of public sector borrowing in financial year ending (FYE) March 2021 by £0.2 billion, as a result of updated corporation tax cash data.

Tables 12 and 13 show the revisions to central government receipts and expenditure in the financial year to September 2022 and FYE March 2022 since our last publication.

Revisions to public sector net debt excluding public sector banks (PSND ex)

Since our previous Public sector finances, UK bulletin on 21 October 2022, we have reduced our estimate of debt at the end of September 2022 by £3.9 billion. This was largely because of updated cash data held by the Asset Purchase Facility Fund (which we receive a month in arrears), reducing debt by £3.7 billion.

Revisions to gross domestic product (GDP)

This month we have updated our estimate for GDP in our GDP first quarterly estimate, UK: July to September 2022 bulletin published on 11 November 2022.

As a result of this update, we have reduced our estimate of the level of PSND ex at the end of September 2022 expressed as a ratio of GDP by 0.7 percentage points.

The revisions to our debt aggregates are presented in our Public sector finances tables 1 to 10: Appendix A.

Revisions to public sector net borrowing and net debt including public sector banks

Estimates of the net borrowing, net cash requirement and net debt of public sector banks are derived from both the profit and loss (P&L) account and balance sheet of these organisations, supplied to us by the Bank of England twice annually.

This month we have received both P&L and balance sheet data covering the period January to June 2022 for the first time, enabling us to update previous estimates associated with public sector banks. Our own estimates covering the period July 2022 to date have also been updated to reflect this new information.

As a consequence of receiving these data, we have reduced our previous estimates of the net borrowing and net cash requirement of public sector banks in the financial year to September 2022 by £0.3 billion and £0.2 billion respectively. The corresponding net debt at the end of October 2022 has increased by £11.2 billion.

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9. Public sector finances data

Public sector finances tables 1 to 10: Appendix A
Dataset | Released 22 November 2022
The data underlying the public sector finances statistical bulletin are presented in the tables PSA 1 to 10.

Large impacts on public sector fiscal measures excluding banking groups: Appendix B
Dataset | Released 22 November 2022
Large events that affect current public sector net borrowing excluding public sector banks (PSNB ex), and public sector net debt excluding public sector banks (PSND ex) from the period May 2000 onwards. Impacts are shown for the components of public sector net borrowing, net cash requirement and net debt.

Public sector finances revisions analysis on main fiscal aggregates: Appendix C
Dataset | Released 22 November 2022
Revisions analysis for central government receipts, expenditure, net borrowing and net cash requirement statistics for the UK over the last five years.

Public sector current receipts: Appendix D
Dataset | Released 22 November 2022
A breakdown of UK public sector income by latest month, financial year-to-date and full financial year, with comparisons with the same period in the previous financial year.

International Monetary Fund's Government Finance Statistics framework in the public sector finances: Appendix E
Dataset | Released 22 November 2022
Presents the balance sheet, statement of operations and statement of other economic flows for the public sector, compliant with the Government Finance Statistics Manual 2014: GFSM 2014 presentation.

Revisions to the first reported estimate of public sector net borrowing: Appendix F
Dataset | Released 22 November 2022
Summarises revisions to the first estimate of UK public sector borrowing (excluding public sector banks) by sub-sector. Revisions are shown at 6 and 12 months after year end.

Changes to public sector finance statistics: Appendix L
Dataset | Released 22 November 2022
Presents the impact of the methodology and data changes introduced in September 2022 on our headline public sector measures.

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10. Glossary

Public sector

In the UK, the public sector consists of six sub-sectors: central government, local government, public non-financial corporations, public sector (funded) pensions, the Bank of England (BoE) and public financial corporations (or public sector banks).

Unless otherwise stated, the figures quoted in this bulletin exclude public sector banks, currently only the NatWest Group, formerly the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Group.

Public sector current expenditure

Current expenditure measures reflect the cost of the public sector's day-to-day activities. For example, central government's provision of services and grants, payment of social benefits and the payment of the interest on its outstanding debt.

Public sector current budget deficit

Public sector current budget deficit is the gap between current expenditure and current receipts on an accrued basis, having taken account of depreciation. The current budget is in surplus when receipts are greater than expenditure.

Public sector net investment

Public sector net investment is the sum of all capital spending, mainly net acquisitions of capital assets and capital grants, less the depreciation of the stock of capital assets.

Public sector net borrowing

Public sector net borrowing excluding public sector banks (PSNB ex) measures the gap between revenue raised (current receipts) and total spending (current expenditure plus net investment). PSNB ex is often referred to by commentators as "the deficit".

Public sector net cash requirement

The public sector net cash requirement (PSNCR) represents the cash needed to be raised from the financial markets over a period of time to finance its activities. The amount of cash required will be affected by changes in the timing of payments to and from the public sector rather than when these liabilities were incurred.

However, it does not depend on forecast tax receipts in the same way as our accrued (or national accounts) based measures of borrowing.

PSNCR may be similar to borrowing for the same period and close, but not identical, to the changes in the level of net debt between two points in time.

Public sector net debt

Public sector net debt excluding public sector banks (PSND ex) represents the amount of money the public sector owes to private sector organisations (including overseas institutions) and is often referred to by commentators as "the national debt".

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11. Measuring the data

Comparing our data with official forecasts

The independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) is responsible for the production of official forecasts for the government. These forecasts are usually produced twice a year, in spring and autumn.

On the 17 November 2022, the OBR published Economic and fiscal outlook - November 2022 containing its latest outlook for the economy and for the public sector finances. The statistics presented in this release do not reflect these updated forecasts, however, we will include these data at the earliest opportunity.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) loan guarantee schemes

In its Economic and fiscal outlook - March 2022, the OBR estimated that a reduction on calls on the government's coronavirus loan guarantee schemes would reduce net borrowing by £4.4 billion in the financial year ending (FYE) March 2022. We will include any impact arising from a change in expected calls when sufficiently reliable data become available.

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12. Strengths and limitations

To supplement this release, we publish an accompanying public sector methodological guide and Public sector finances Quality and Methodology Information outlining the strengths, limitations, and appropriate uses of the public sector finances dataset.

Tax receipts

In the most recent months, tax receipts recorded on an accrued basis are subject to some uncertainty. This is because many taxes such as value added tax (VAT), corporation tax and Pay As You Earn (PAYE) income tax contain some forecast cash receipts data and are liable to revision when actual cash receipts data are received.

The forecasts underlying our current tax estimates reflect the expectations published in the Office for Budget Responsibility's (OBR) Economic and fiscal outlook - March 2022 and the subsequent monthly profiles published on 12 May 2022. We will take account of the latest OBR forecast information at the earliest opportunity.

Local government and public corporations

In recent years, planned local government expenditure initially reported in local authority budgets has been systematically lower than final outturn current expenditure reported in the audited accounts and higher than that reported in final outturn capital expenditure. We therefore include adjustments to increase or decrease the amounts reported at the budget stage.

For the financial year ending (FYE) 2022, we include:

  • a £0.4 billion downward adjustment to Wales's capital expenditure

  • a £3.5 billion upward adjustment to England's current expenditure on goods and services

We apply a further £2.0 billion downward adjustment to budget forecast current expenditure on benefits in the FYE 2022, to reflect the most recently available data for housing benefits.

For the FYE 2023, we include:

  • a £0.8 billion downward adjustment to Scotland's capital expenditure

  • a £0.4 billion downward adjustment to Wales's capital expenditure

  • a £4.0 billion upward adjustment to England's current expenditure on goods and services

We apply a further £1.8 billion downward adjustment to budget forecast current expenditure on benefits in the FYE 2023, to reflect the most recently available data for housing benefits.

Public corporations' data in the most recent periods are initial estimates, largely based on the OBR's Economic and fiscal outlook - March 2022, with adjustments being applied as needed. We will take account of the latest OBR forecast information at the earliest opportunity.

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14. Cite this statistical bulletin

Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 22 November 2022, ONS website, statistical bulletin, Public sector finances, UK: October 2022

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Manylion cyswllt ar gyfer y Bwletin ystadegol

Fraser Munro
public.sector.inquiries@ons.gov.uk
Ffôn: +44 1633 456402