This page explains some of the basics of fiscal policy – government decisions about spending and taxation. After describing the link between government deficits and government debt it presents evidence on the historical pattern of UK government debt, showing that whilst it has risen sharply in the UK following the financial crisis the current ratio of government debt to GDP in the UK is by no means unprecedented.
Fiscal variables relate to government spending and taxation. Government induced changes in these variables constitute fiscal policy. On this page we show the links between these decisions, the government’s budget deficit and the National Debt. We show how these links relate to the issue of fiscal sustainability – an issue that has become especially relevant following the Greek crisis of 2010. Our data sources are given in the panel on the right, from which you can also download the data in CSV format.