National debt – some facts and figures

One of the charges made against Labour politicians (yes, even humble councillors) is our (supposed) mismanagement of the economy and the enormous debt we bequeathed Cameron and Clegg. This is used to justify all sorts of nasty policies, including cuts to local services.

There is a nice and simple graphic here which illustrates that the truth is not necessarily as it almost always appears to be told.

I have no idea what the politics are of the people who write for Gold made simple but they clearly are underwhelmed by the current Chancellor of the Exchequer. They do not strike me as covert operators for the SWP, and one imagines that those make their money buying and selling gold are less than enthusiastic about socialism. This makes their prognostications on the current Government’s fiscal policies all the more interesting.  They predict, for instance, another recession soon, in contradistinction to George Osborne’s pronouncements.

The table below shoes the national debt situation since the Second World War. To be fair it is a mixed picture, but what it clearly does not show is Conservative Governments being better than Labour ones in reducing the debt.

Year Debt as % of GDP In power at year end
1945 215.64 Lab
1946 237.12 Lab
1947 237.94 Lab
1948 213.97 Lab
1949 197.77 Lab
1950 193.89 Lab
1951 175.34 Con
1952 161.99 Con
1953 152.16 Con
1954 146.66 Con
1955 138.19 Con
1956 129.03 Con
1957 122.18 Con
1958 118.14 Con
1959 112.44 Con
1960 106.76 Con
1961 103.06 Con
1962 99.87 Con
1963 98.15 Con
1964 90.97 Lab
1965 84.82 Lab
1966 82.07 Lab
1967 79.41 Lab
1968 78.33 Lab
1969 72.27 Lab
1970 63.99 Con
1971 57.99 Con
1972 55.46 Con
1973 49.48 Con
1974 47.87 Lab
1975 43.48 Lab
1976 44.81 Lab
1977 45.70 Lab
1978 46.76 Lab
1979 43.61 Con
1980 42.11 Con
1981 44.40 Con
1982 44.55 Con
1983 43.13 Con
1984 43.59 Con
1985 43.45 Con
1986 41.81 Con
1987 39.14 Con
1988 34.98 Con
1989 29.30 Con
1990 26.69 Con
1991 25.27 Con
1992 26.70 Con
1993 30.97 Con
1994 36.05 Con
1995 39.55 Con
1996 41.20 Con
1997 41.93 Lab
1998 40.14 Lab
1999 37.85 Lab
2000 35.38 Lab
2001 30.58 Lab
2002 29.34 Lab
2003 30.46 Lab
2004 31.84 Lab
2005 33.80 Lab
2006 34.85 Lab
2007 35.57 Lab
2008 36.61 Lab
2009 44.26 Lab
2010 52.08 Con/Lib Dem
2011 59.71 Con/Lib Dem

The figure at the end of September 2013 was 75.9%. Here is a good read on this subject.


One Response to National debt – some facts and figures

  1. jayman says:

    The Tories are not incompetent. It could be argued that they (conservatives) are running up this debt as an act of ideological end-gaming. In what situation would the British public accept the wholesale privatisation of the NHS or the end of the welfare state?

    Hypothetically, to achieve such a feat would require a perfect storm of huge national debt and huge pressure on public services. The previous high tax model that was in place to pay for state provided services would need to be altered to enable individuals to pay for an american style self funding/insurance model. This process would need to begin with the early implementation of removing the lowest paid workers from income tax deductions. employers will also see amendments and reductions to NI employers contribution. This process will filter up through society over time. Meanwhile, the national debt will continue to rise as the ground is prepared for the final crescendo of wholesale privatisation and a reduction of state intervention. The public mindset will have been altered in such a way through careful socio-political influence (things will be made to fail for media consumption) the public eye will be fixed onto the ineptitude of state institutions and welfare systems (see daily mail)

    replenishing the gold reserve would also be key to this ‘hypothetical’ scenario as means of leverage to support a weak monetary economy as the pound will plummet in the currency markets when the desired debt limit is reached and the scenario comes to fruition…

    to but more simply ‘the Tory government would be doing an ‘insurance job’ on the whole country

    This is just a hypothetical thought exercise….

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