Amounts And Proportions of NEW Government Debt Bought By Bank Since 1694

Simon made this Freedom of Information request to Bank of England

Automatic anti-spam measures are in place for this older request. Please let us know if a further response is expected or if you are having trouble responding.

The request was refused by Bank of England.

Dear Bank of England,
Could you give me a table of year by year of NEW government debt issuances, and amounts of this debt bought directly by the Bank of England since 1694. And along with this, the debt bought by the private sector; and if you can, differentiating between home and foreign purchases.

I would thus envisage a three or four column table with years down the side, and a column of BoE purchases and a column of private purchases across the top .

Yours faithfully,

Simon Smith

Enquiries, Bank of England

Dear Simon Smith

We acknowledge receipt of your email dated 15 November below (our ref: CAS-38445-N2P8G9).

We will reply in due course.

Yours sincerely

Information Access Team, Communications Directorate
Bank of England | Threadneedle Street | London EC2R 8AH | +44 20 3461 4878

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Enquiries, Bank of England

1 Attachment

Dear Simon Smith

Please find attached response to your email dated 15 November below.

Yours sincerely

Information Access Team, Communications Directorate
Bank of England | Threadneedle Street | London EC2R 8AH | +44 20 3461 4878

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Dear Enquiries,
I give the full text of your reply in quotes with my clarificationS after:

"Simon Smith

Information Access Team
via email to:
Communications Directorate
request-806996-
T 020 3461 4878
[email address]
F 020 3461 5460

[email address]

13 December 2021

Please quote ref. CAS-38445-N2P8G9 on all

correspondence

Dear Simon Smith

Thank you for your email dated 15 November to the Bank of England (the ‘Bank’) in which you ask for
access under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (‘FoI Act’) to:

‘…. a table of year by year of NEW government debt issuances, and amounts of this debt bought
directly by the Bank of England since 1694. And along with this, the debt bought by the private
sector; and if you can, differentiating between home and foreign purchases.

I would thus envisage a three or four column table with years down the side, and a column of BoE
purchases and a column of private purchases across the top.’

Understanding the exact terms of your request is crucial as, for FoI Act purposes, we need to determine
whether we hold the specific information in which you are interested.

In order to help us identify information within the scope of your request, we need a more precise
understanding about the information you are requesting. For us to take your request forward, please could
you clarify, in accordance with section 1(3) of the FoI Act, the following:

 By ‘government debt issuances’ do you mean wholesale and retail debt instruments issued by
or on behalf of the UK Government, such as gilts, Treasury bills and National Savings and
Investments (‘NS&I’) products? Or do you mean a subset of these (and if so, which subset)?
 By ‘amounts of this debt bought directly by the Bank of England’ do you mean purchases of
the debt you describe above, by the Bank solely for its own account or do you mean to include
purchases by the Bank for or on behalf or as agent for the UK Government? Do you also
mean purchases made by the Bank itself and not through an agent or intermediary?
 By ‘private sector’ do you mean debt purchased by any entity that is not a public sector entity
or carrying out a public function with respect to the purchase?
 By ‘home and foreign purchases’ do you mean debt as described above, owned by (i) UK-
and (ii) non-UK- established private sector entities?
I should, however, highlight that subject to your clarifications, because your request is for information
covering a lengthy period dating back to 1694, it is very likely that your request may exceed the cost
threshold under the FoI Act. Therefore, in addition to your clarifications, you may also wish to consider
narrowing the timeframe of your request.

You may be interested in the UK Historical Data Repository, which is a joint endeavour between the Bank,
the Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence and the Office for National Statistics. The free repository of
historical UK data and relevant statistical publications, and a hub that links to other data websites and
sources, is available to view at: https://www.escoe.ac.uk/research/histori....

2

The repository contains historical information on the holders of the outstanding stock of government debt
from the Radcliffe Report, which was published in 1959, as wel as the Bank’s regular analysis on the
distribution and composition of the national debt from 1960 and, from 1986 to 2002, public sector net debt.
There is also a section on the Bank’s balance sheet going back to 1696 with data on the Bank’s
government debt holdings and operations in gilt markets. The relevant sections containing datasets,
sources and methods, and published periodicals are available to view at:
https://www.escoe.ac.uk/research/histori...
https://www.escoe.ac.uk/research/histori...

You may also be interested in a paper by Wil iam A Al en titled ‘Government debt management and
monetary policy in Britain since 1919’ which contains an Appendix with several tables, including private
holdings of the national debt in the interwar period (Table 1). The paper is available to view at:
https://www.bis.org/publ/bppdf/bispap65b...

Please note if we do not receive your clarification within the next two months, we will consider this request
closed.

Yours sincerely

Madeline Jeffries
Information Access Team

Your right to complain under the FoI Act
If you are unhappy with the Bank of England’s response, you may ask for that decision to be reviewed internally. Please note that
this will be subject to the Bank having received your submission within two months of the date of this response. In order to submit an
internal review, please set out the grounds for your appeal and send it to Wendy Galvin, Information Access Team (TS-Mz),
Communications Directorate, Bank of England, Threadneedle Street, London, EC2R 8AH or by email to
[email address] for the attention of Wendy Galvin.

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for
a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

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www.bankofengland.co.uk/privacy"

I have abstracted the relevant portions with my comments in BLOCK LETTERS interwoven:

By ‘government debt issuances’ do you mean wholesale and retail debt instruments issued by
or on behalf of the UK Government, such as gilts, Treasury bills and National Savings and
Investments (‘NS&I’) products? Or do you mean a subset of these (and if so, which subset)?
I MEAN ALL OF THEM

 By ‘amounts of this debt bought directly by the Bank of England’ do you mean purchases of
the debt you describe above, by the Bank solely for its own account or do you mean to include
purchases by the Bank for or on behalf or as agent for the UK Government?
ALL PLEASE

Do you also
mean purchases made by the Bank itself and not through an agent or intermediary?
ALL PLEASE

 By ‘private sector’ do you mean debt purchased by any entity that is not a public sector entity
or carrying out a public function with respect to the purchase?

COULD YOU CLARIFY THIS PLEASE ? PERHAPS BY WAY OF EXAMPLE ?

 By ‘home and foreign purchases’ do you mean debt as described above, owned by (i) UK-
and (ii) non-UK- established private sector entities?"

YES I DO

I should, however, highlight that subject to your clarifications, because your request is for information
covering a lengthy period dating back to 1694, it is very likely that your request may exceed the cost
threshold under the FoI Act. Therefore, in addition to your clarifications, you may also wish to consider
narrowing the timeframe of your request.

COULD YOU GIVE ME A THRESHOLD FOR A TIMEFRAME BEYOND WHICH I WOULD BE CHARGED PLEASE. FOR EXAMPLE WOULD YOU CHARGE FROM 1900 UNTIL THE PRESENT DAY ?

Yours sincerely,

Simon Smith

Enquiries, Bank of England

Dear Simon Smith

We acknowledge receipt of your email dated 19 December below (our ref: CAS-39803-P0D0D4).

We will reply in due course.

Yours sincerely

Information Access Team, Communications Directorate
Bank of England | Threadneedle Street | London EC2R 8AH | +44 20 3461 4878

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Enquiries, Bank of England

2 Attachments

Dear Simon Smith

Please find attached response to your email dated 19 December 2021 below.

Yours sincerely

Information Access Team, Communications Directorate
Bank of England | Threadneedle Street | London EC2R 8AH | +44 20 3461 4878

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