Explanation of PSNCR [Virtual Economy]

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An explanation of PSNCR.

PSNCR - Explanation

The PSNCR - public sector net cash requirement - used to be called the PSBR - the public sector borrowing requirement. They are the same thing. They measure the amount the government has to borrow to meet all its expenditure commitments. Governments frequently spend more than they are earning in tax revenue, and so have to borrow to plug the gap.

There are two ways to measure the value of the PSNCR. The first is to look at the PSNCR as an amount of money - usually in billions of pounds (£bn). This is useful as a measure, but we may also want to consider how significant this figure is in the overall context of the economy. £5bn sounds a lot of money (and we would all like a share of it !), but in terms of the overall level of GDP it is fairly insignificant. So the other way to measure the PSNCR is as a percentage of GDP.

The PSNCR tends to vary with the trade cycle Look up Trade Cycle in glossary . This happens because as the level of growth changes the governments expenditure and tax revenue will also change automatically. For example, imagine the economy is going into recession. As people lose their jobs, incomes fall and this means less income tax. They will also spend less which means the government gets less from VAT and other indirect taxes. At the same time they will need to be paid benefits, and this means an increase in government expenditure. The overall effect of the recession therefore has been to increase the PSNCR.

Why not also have a look at the relevant theories about the PSNCR, or have a go at a worksheet about it?