Lies, Falsehoods and Misrepresentations from Boris Johnson to Keir Starmer

“The government is committed to halving inflation, reducing debt & growing the economy”

HM Treasury, X Post

Facts

On 27 January 2023 HM Treasury posted on X “The government is committed to halving inflation, reducing debt & growing the economy”

There are multiple measures of debt, but the government’s debt targets focus on “public sector net debt excluding the Bank of England” (PSND ex BoE), often described as underlying debt.

Underlying debt rose from £2,129 billion in September 2022 to £2,373 billion in September 2023.

An Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) report published at the end of November 2023 forecasts underlying debt will rise to £3,039 billion by 2028-2029. At no point does underlying debt fall.

Underlying debt is also often quantified as a percentage of GDP. The OBR forecasts underlying debt to rise “from 89% of GDP in 2023-24 to 93.2% in 2026-27. It then declines in the final two years to 92.8% of GDP by 2028-29”. Because the OBR forecast shows no reduction in underlying debt as a cash value, the fall from 93.2% to 92.8% is the result of a rising GDP, not a reduction in debt.

Verdict

Debt is not currently falling nor is it forecast to fall.

We emailed HM Treasury offering them the chance to respond. We received no response.

Published 28 Jun 2024
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