UK public sector debt ‘around £2 trillion’


Rachel Cooper
London Telegraph
July 13, 2010

A study by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has revealed that there could be a further £1.13 trillion of liabilities above the current estimate that puts public sector net debt at £932bn.

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Researchers said their figure incorporated liabilities that are currently considered to be “off-balance sheet” or not covered in the official national debt measure, such as public private partnerships or private finance initiatives and public sector pensions.

The researchers said that their report illustrated the need for transparency in the public finances and called on the Office for Budget Responsibility to raise awareness of why contingent liabilities are currently not considered part of public sector debt assessments.

Michael Izza, ICAEW chief executive, said: “While there are important debates to be had about specific spending cuts, I believe that meaningful reform is necessary to underpin sustainable public finances over the long term and create a culture of fiscal responsibility.”

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