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UK public sector debt 'at £2 trillion'
Mon, 12 Jul 2010 16:16:51 GMT
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A new financial study suggests that the UK's public sector debt is more than a trillion pounds higher than official government figures.

With the inclusion of pensions and off-balance sheet investments, up to 1.13 trillion pounds may be added to the current estimated public sector net debt of 932 billion pounds, says a report published on Monday.

Researchers from the Centre for Economics and Business Research, and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICEAEW) note that while the report calculates the total debt figure using publicly available data, there is uncertainty surrounding many of the figures.

"Our research draws upon existing publicly available data and previously undertaken analysis to illustrate that the liabilities that are not included in the official public sector net debt figure are large but, in many cases, uncertain," the report's author and managing economist for CEBR, Charles Davis, told The Telegraph.

The bulk of the hefty sum comes from unfunded pensions for public-sector workers like civil servants and teachers, Reuters reported.

Researchers also urged transparency in the public finances sector and called on the Office for Budget Responsibility to raise awareness about the liabilities which are currently omitted from the public sector debt assessments.

"While there are important debates to be had about specific spending cuts, I believe that meaningful reform is necessary to underpin sustainable public finances over the long term and create a culture of fiscal responsibility," the Times quoted ICAEW Chief Executive Michael Izza as saying.

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