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Public sector debt £90,000 per household, numbers show: ICAEW

Author: ICAEW

Published: 25 Apr 2023

Alison Ring, ICAEW Director of Public Sector and Taxation, comments on the public sector finance release by the Office for National Statistics today (Tuesday 25 April 2023):

“Today’s data for the financial year to March 2023 emphasises just how weak a state the public finances are in, with debt now approaching an eyewatering £90,000 per household. The UK is still running big fiscal deficits, with a provisional shortfall between receipts and spending of £139bn in 2022/23, while public debt over the past three financial years has grown by £715bn or almost 40% to £2,530bn. 

“The UK government’s financial position remains precarious, with high debt and limited headroom against its fiscal rules that reduce our resilience to future economic shocks. An ageing population, underperforming public services and a worsening global security situation are all putting pressure on government spending, even as taxes rise. 

“What is most concerning is weak public investment after the government constrained spending to meet its short-term fiscal objectives, for example in scaling back HS2. Unfortunately, this will restrict economic growth in the medium and long-term, and will also delay much-needed investment in the quality and cost-efficiency of public services.”


Notes to editors:

CONTACT: ICAEW media office stephen.froome@icaew.com or 07970 402 073


  • Public sector net debt increased from £1,815bn at 31 March 2020 to £2,530bn at 31 March 2023, or from approximately £65,000 to £90,000 per household based on estimated households in the UK of 27.9m and 28.3m respectively.
  • This is equivalent to an increase from around £27,000 to £37,000 for each and every person in the UK, based on estimated population of 67.0m and 68.0m at 31 March 2000 and 2023 respectively.