BBC News – UK debt and deficit: All you need to know

MPs and experts will use different numbers for what appear to be the same thing Continue reading the main storyIf the politicians in charge cant get it right, what hope for the rest of us?In a party political broadcast last year, David Cameron claimed that “we are paying down Britains debts”.As you will soon see, we most certainly are not.And the prime minister is not alone. Last month, Chancellor George Osborne claimed the deficit had fallen by a third since the coalition came to power in 2010. But in December, shadow chancellor Ed Balls said the deficit had not come down.So whos right and whats what when it comes to the UKs debt and deficit?Debt This one is pretty straightforward, kind of. Debt simply refers to the amount of money owed by the UK government. This is the debt that has been built up over many years by many governments – the running total if you like.But be careful with the word total. The accepted and widely used figure for debt is actually the net debt of the UK; in other words, the total debt minus the governments liquid assets.As the chart below shows, debt has increased massively in recent years, doubling to more than £1tn in the past five years, largely due to the financial crisis and resulting recession.An easy way to compare debt levels across different countries is to

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