Government Debt

The government has official debts of about £1.56 trillion (approximately £58,000 for each UK household), but it also has other very real and very large liabilities. These include at least £1.3 trillion for the pensions of government employees and £3.8 trillion for the state pension scheme. These pension commitments are almost all unfunded – meaning they are not paid out of some massive accumulated fund, but out of current-account taxes.

In addition, there are unfunded liabilities relating to government guarantees, PFIs and nuclear decommissions, which add up to about £500 billion. This all adds up to a total of about £250,000 of government debt and liabilities for each UK household.

Much of the government accounting for these liabilities is very poor, with some liabilities not having been calculated for several years; and the calculations that are made use some doubtful accounting practices. IF is closely monitoring what debts the government is building up for younger and future generations of taxpayers.