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The Transparency and Accountability of UK Debt Management: A Proposal

In this paper, the authors argue that UK debt management policy is insufficiently transparent and accountable. The debt management objectives are poorly under stood and, partly as a consequence, there is no formal mechanism for performance measurement by the public. The authors propose a number of institutional reforms designed to improve transparency and accountability. These include the definition of more explict objectives, and independent Debt Management Office and ex post evaluation of the government’s domestic portfolio relative to a benchmark. To illustrate how ex post evaluation would work in practice, the authors examine the efficiency of UK debt management policy over ten fiscal years, from April 1985 to March 1995. In a number of years, the actual UK government domestic debt portfolio underperformed the benchmark in terms of standard measures of cost and risk.