This section covers data on government spending, tax revenues and public sector debt. Medieval fiscal data is available back to 991 with a payment of £10,000 of Danegeld recorded in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle. The pipe rolls and Exchequer accounts then supply much of our knowledge of fiscal data through to the late C17th when the data obtained from Parliamentary Reports begin. The latest official data based on the Public Sector Analytical Tables start in 1946 and are made available here given their long back run. The Bank’s Millennium dataset contains summaries of much of this data. Links are made to various recent research datasets on spending, revenue and the national debt such as the European State Finance Database and the work of Wilkie and Cairns, and Ellison and Scott on the National Debt and its structure. Publications such as Pember and Boyle’s British Government Securities in the C20th and various Parliamentary Reports are also provided.
- Fiscal section of Millennium of Macroeconomic Data v3.1 (xls), of which summary data are available via FRED
- Detailed medieval fiscal data for the UK and other countries can be found at the European State Finance Database
- Monthly data on the market value of the national debt back to 1694 put together by Martin Ellison and Andrew Scott can be found here
- Monthly data on the price and quantity of government securities since 1964 can be found in the Heriot-Watt University and Institute and Faculty of Actuaries British Government Securities Database maintained by David Wilkie and Andrew Cairns
- A very useful website with data on UK public finances produced by Christopher Chantril is available at UK Public Spending
- The Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) also maintains historical fiscal data on their page Fiscal Facts
Government Spending and Revenue
Much of what we know about fiscal spending and revenue from the late C17th comes from a Parliamentary report prepared by H.S. Chisholm, the Chief Clerk of the Exchequer, in 1869. This is available online in the HathiTrust digital archive alongside a useful historical report from the Commissioners of Inland Revenue.
- Chisholm Report, Part 1: Great Britain and Ireland separately 1688-1816
- Chisholm Report, Part 2: United Kingdom 1816-1869
- Report of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue covering 1856-1869, including a retrospective history
Chisholm's report however is known to contain inaccuracies and misses some elements of public sector finances. Professor Patrick O'Brien's thesis from 1967 discusses some these issues and how they affect the estimates of public borrowing in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. With thanks to Professor O'Brien this thesis has been digitised as part of this project and is available in the Oxford University Research Archive.
- British Government Revenue 1793-1815: a study in fiscal and financial policy in the wars against France
The National Debt
Two Parliamentary reports in 1891 and 1898 provide a complete history of the National Debt from 1694 to 1890. Google. Those editions out of copyright and currently provided free are available from the Internet Archive and listed below.