UK - Public sector pension scheme liabilities are driving a national debt of £5trn ($7.7trn) and cannot be ignored, the Institute of Economic Affairs says.
IEA director general Mark Littlewood said public sector pension liabilities - estimated at £1trn by Record Currency Management chief executive Neil Record - were contributing to a real national debt of 333% of GDP. However, the Office of National Statistics last week estimated this figure to be just £816.2bn.
Littlewood said: "The latest official national debt figure of £816bn is seriously misleading. Looming in the background are pension liabilities, these should be moved to the forefront. A more accurate picture of the situation shows that Britain finds itself saddled with a national debt of nearly £5trn."
And the body called for the ONS to include public sector pension scheme liabilities when estimating national debt.
Littlewood added: "The ONS should include these liabilities in their calculations. It is shocking enough to see official figures revealing a jump in national debt over the last year from the equivalent of 48% of GDP to 56%, but the grave reality is that our real national debt stands at 333% of GDP."
In June, the IEA published a report, A Bankruptcy Foretold 2010: Post-Financial-Crisis Update, which calculated the real national debt at £4.8trn - equal to £78,000 per person. The calculation included liabilities such as public sector pensions and state pensions, as well as an allowance for the bailed-out banks.
In July, a report by the Public Sector Pensions Commission - set up in autumn last year by bodies including the Institute of Economic Affairs and the Institute of Directors - found the government had massively under-reported the cost of public sector pensions.
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