Fiscal facts

Useful facts and figures about the UK public finances, public spending and taxation.

Public finances

Headline public finances

Headline public finances:

  • The OBR’s Public Finances Databank provides data on UK tax receipts, public spending, borrowing, debt, GDP and GDP deflators going back to the late 1940s, in addition to the current official forecasts. This and other useful resources are available here.
  • The International Monetary Fund publishes its Fiscal Monitor twice a year, including internationally comparable projections. The latest publication as well as the Fiscal Monitor Database can be found here.
  • The Bank of England has compiled very long-run data on the UK’s economy and public finances in its dataset A Millennium of Macroeconomic Data, available here.

Public spending

For more detail on the level and composition of UK spending over time, long run trends in different areas of public service spending, and current issues in public spending click here.

Alternatively, access data on the composition of public spending over time:


This note describes the UK benefit system:

The spreadsheets below give give current and historical benefit and tax credit rates, numbers of claimants and expenditure levels.

Spending on benefits

UK expenditure on benefits
Nominal terms, real terms and % of GDP

Benefits for families

Child Benefit, Guardian's Allowance and Child's Special Allowance
Rates and claimants
Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit, WFTC, DPTC, DWA, FIS and Family Credit
Rates and claimants
Maternity Allowance and Statutory Maternity Pay

Benefits for the unemployed

Job Seeker's Allowance and Unemploment Benefit
Rates and claimants

Benefits for the elderly

Retirement Pension
Rates and claimants
Pension Credit
Rates and claimants

Benefits for people on low incomes

Income Support and Supplementary Benefit
Personal allowances, premiums and claimants
Housing Benefit
Personal allowances, premiums and claimants
Council Tax Benefit
Personal allowances, premiums and claimants
Social Fund, including Winter Fuel Payments and Sure State Maternity Grants
Awards and amounts
Universal Credit
Allowances, premiums and claimants

Benefits for sick and disabled people

Employment and Support Allowance, Incapacity Benefit, Invalidity Benefit and Sickness Benefit
Rates and Claimants
Disability Living Allowance, Mobility Allowance and Attendance Allowance
Rates and claimants
Carer's Allowance
Rates and claimants

Benefits for war and industrial injury and bereavement

War pensions
Rates and supplements
Industrial Injury Disablement Pension and Industrial Death Benefit
Rates and supplements
Widow's Allowance and Bereavement Allowance


Information about taxes, including explainers of how taxes work and data on tax rates, can now be found at


Fiscal response to the crisis

In the aftermath of the financial crisis, the UK government had the largest budget deficit in its peacetime history. Find out more.