A brief guide to the public finances
This guide provides a brief introduction to the UK public finances and to the terms used to describe them in the official statistics. We describe the main sources of government income and spending, and explain how these are used to calculate whether the government is running a surplus or a deficit. We also explain how government debt is defined and calculated.
An OBR guide to welfare spending
This guide provides an introduction to government spending on welfare. Firstly, we present an overview of how much is spent, what it is spent on, and which factors have caused this to change in the past and are expected to cause it to change in the future. Secondly we explore each line of social security and tax credits spending in turn.
Welfare spending dashboard
This dashboard allows users to examine changes in our forecasts of spending, caseloads and implied average awards for each line of social security and tax credits spending. Changes in the spending forecasts between fiscal events are decomposed into changes to the caseload forecast and changes in implied average awards.
The direct fiscal consequences of unconventional monetary policies
Since the financial crisis, the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has deployed unconventional forms of monetary policy to support the economy. The full consequences of these interventions for the public finances – in the sense of comparing what the public finances look like now with how they would have looked in the absence of such interventions – is impossible to estimate with any confidence. Most of the effects are indirect – including the extent to which gilt purchases reduced gilt yields; the extent to which that induced further changes in asset prices; what effects that had on economic activity and employment; and so on. A second order, but still important, question to ask is how unconventional monetary policy measures have been directly accounted for in the public finances. We address that question in this explainer.
Forecast revisions database
Alongside our March 2016 Economic and fiscal outlook, we produced a database of fiscal forecast revisions which we intend to update at every fiscal event. The database contains a decomposition of revisions to all our fiscal forecasts since 2010 into underlying forecast changes, classification changes and policy changes.
It is also accompanied by analysis that explains the sources of these changes in Annex B of our March 2016 Economic and fiscal outlook.
We have updated the forecast revisions database to include all forecasts since.
Our latest press conference: March 2018 Economic and fiscal outlook
Robert Chote explains the main drivers of our underlying March 2016 forecasts, the Government’s response and why we don’t account for the effect of the ‘Brexit’ referendum