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Fiscal facts: public finances

This fiscal facts page contains links to useful facts and figures about the UK public finances, public spending and taxation.

Headline public finances

  • An excellent “Brief guide to the public finances” is produced by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), and is available here.
  • The OBR also maintain a “Public Finances Databank” which contains long run data on UK tax receipts, public spending, borrowing, debt, GDP and GDP deflators. This and other useful resources are available here.
  • Internationally comparisons of public finance positions are produced by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). A selection of this data is available here.

Fiscal response to the crisis

In recent years, the UK government has undertaken a large and protracted fiscal consolidation in order to reduce public borrowing. For more details on how the size and composition of the planned consolidation has evolved over time, click here.


For more detail on the UK tax system, the level and composition of tax receipts, and the rates and limits of different taxes over time, click here.

Public spending

For more detail on the level and composition of UK spending over time, long run trends in different areas of public service spending, and current issues in public spending click here.

Alternatively, access data on the composition of public spending over time:

Benefit spending

For more detail on the UK benefit system, the level and composition of benefit spending over time, and the rates and number of claimants of individual benefits over time, click here.