Budget 2012: Tracking the UK economy

At the heart of the government's economic programme is Chancellor George Osborne's plan to eliminate the UK's budget deficit by 2015-16.

That deficit, in essence, is the difference between the government's income (from tax revenues) and its expenditure - represented on the graph as net borrowing.

As seen in this graph, based on figures from the Office for National Statistics, the budget deficit increased dramatically during the global financial crisis, although it has now started to come down slightly.

This deficit is quite separate from net debt, which is the amount that the UK owes. You may know it as the national debt. As the second graph shows, this has also climbed since 2007, although it too is now showing a slight decline.

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