Let\’s remind ourselves what our Real National Debt calculation is actually looking at.
It\’s looking at the government\’s commitment to make future payments in respect of loans or services it has received in the past. Which is the standard and essential definition of debt (see paper).
Thus for example, we include the government\’s £1.3 trillion accrued liability to make public sector pensions payments. That relates solely to the service and pension contributions of public sector employees in the past – the pension entitlement they have earned so far. What we are saying is that public employees have provided services and loans (their contributions) to the government that they expect to be repaid during their retirement. It is debt, pure and simple.
Similarly, we include the £2.7 trillion liability to make state pension payments. Again, that reflects the accrued liability in respect of National Insurance Contributions already made in the past against pensions to be paid by the government in the future. It is an undischarged loan to the government.
The pensions assumptions do not include pensions which will accrue in the future: so they are much more akin to a contractual debt than they are not and so should indeed be included in a calculation of the true national debt.