UK national debt is the total quantity of money borrowed by the UK Government at any time. Through the issue of securities by the British Treasury and other government agencies.
The numbers involved are astronomical so we created a national debt graph demonstrating the size of a problem increasing by £1bn in interest every week.
Welcome to our UK national debt calculator.
Currently standing at £1.6 trillion and it’s growing. Fast. The numbers are mind-boggling. Every day £446,688,000 is added to the debt – that’s over £18 million per hour or £310,200 per minute. Take a look at the second hand on your watch with every tick, the UK’s national debt has accrued £5,170.
Much like consumers who spend more money than they earn, the Government spends more than it can tax. The gap is typically plugged by selling bonds or gilts to investors at home and abroad, who expect full repayment with a healthy dose of interest.
But why is the figure so big?
The answer is simple and another reflection of modern times. While national debt was historically heavier after World War II, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) adopted a different method for calculating public finances. This now includes the Bank of England’s quantitative easing programme and the cost of bank bailouts. Seven years after the credit crunch of 2008 and the UK’s debt is still feeling the effects of the banking industry’s prior carelessness.
There’s nothing more sobering than watching the national debt in real time. Thanks to the ONS, the numbers above offer a glimpse at the reality the British Government faces to get the country’s finances back on track.
Consequently with numbers this big, it does help to add context. According to a 2014 ONS consensus, the UK debt stands at just under £26 per citizen, or £44.61 per taxpayer. Putting it another way, the debt is real and, like any loan, must be repaid. However, with Britain’s average annual salary at £26,500, it would take 60 million years to be paid back.
Think of our UK debt calculator as a national debt clock. It’s a handy timepiece which we hope will start to do the one thing no clock can do – start moving backwards.
References and further reading