Recent Changes to UK Public Sector Finance Statistics: July 2023 Update

In the latest release of “Recent and upcoming changes to public sector finance statistics,” the UK’s fiscal landscape is illuminated with insights into upcoming data updates and classification announcements, shedding light on the impact on government spending and debt. This release, accredited as a National Statistic, provides valuable information for policymakers and analysts.

Upcoming Data Updates in September 2023:

As the economy evolves, public sector finance statistics adapt accordingly. Annual updates are set for September 2023, incorporating the latest available data. Notable updates will include Network Rail, public sector funded pensions, student loans, and capital consumption. Among these, public sector funded pensions will have the most noticeable impact on fiscal aggregates.

Classification Announcements:

Several bodies underwent classification changes in July 2023. Notably, Consumer Scotland, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and Oak National Academy were classified to the central government subsector. Simultaneously, the Department for International Development and Foreign and Commonwealth Office were reclassified as disbanded public sector bodies.

Transparency and Fiscal Exposure:

The evolving economy drives changes in the public sector finance statistics methodology. These changes align the statistics with the government’s true fiscal exposure, as measured by key fiscal aggregates like public sector net borrowing (PSNB) and public sector net debt (PSND). For instance, the Energy Bills Discount Scheme, involving subsidies from central government to households, led to increases in both PSNB and PSND.

Looking Ahead:

This release underscores the commitment to transparency and predictability in data updates. Methodological changes are strategically packaged annually to provide users with consistent and comprehensible updates. For example, the classification of Bulb Energy Limited into public sector finance was implemented in June 2023.

Notable Changes in Public Sector Funded Pensions:

The forthcoming data update in September 2023 will include revisions to public sector funded pensions estimates. These changes will impact fiscal aggregates, primarily public sector net financial liabilities (PSNFL). Notably, estimated liabilities will increase, while assets decrease, leading to an anticipated increase in public sector net borrowing (PSNB).

The UK’s commitment to accurate and comprehensive public sector finance statistics ensures that policymakers and stakeholders are equipped with the information needed to make informed decisions about government spending, fiscal strategies, and economic policies.