Low National Savings Rates Stores Up Trouble Ahead for Britain

The Scottish economist Adam Smith described Britain as a nation of shopkeepers in his book The Wealth of Nations, published in 1776. Today, the UK is simply a country of shoppers, the Financial Times reported. Rarely has Britain been consuming so much and saving so little. As a nation — which statisticians break down into households, companies and the government — Britain spends far more than it earns. On this measure, the UK borrowed 5 per cent of national income in 2015, according to the OECD, the Paris-based international organisation. This implies that UK households, companies and the government spent 5 per cent more than they earned in that year and financed the deficit by borrowing from overseas. Britain was still borrowing 5.1 per cent of gross domestic product from foreigners in the third quarter of 2018, according to latest data from the Office for National Statistics on so-called sector balances. Read more