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Government Borrowing (International Comparisons)

Volume 958: debated on Tuesday 21 November 1978

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list central Government borrowing expressed in United States dollars per capita at the end of June 1970, February 1974 and the latest available month for Canada, France, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and West Germany.

There is no internationally agreed definition of central Government outstanding debt. The table below is derived from various publications which give figures for central Government borrowing according to the definitions employed by the individual countries, which vary widely. Those for the United Kingdom are derived from Financial Statistics, February 1978 (Supplementary Table C). The figures are in terms of nominal value and are for the dates nearest to those in the question for which figures are available.The figures are affected by the different administrative arangements of each country; in particular by differences in the methods of financing local authorities and public trading enterprises, and by the extent to which they include Government's holding of their own debt. Furthermore, the data have been converted to dollars using official or market rates of

End-June 1970End-February 1974Latest available
Canada1,6702,5303,150 (31st June 1976)
France340350620 (31st December 1977)
Italy2505101,290 (30th November 1977)
Japan1703601,810 (30th June 1978)
United Kingdom*1,4101,6502,000 (31st March 1977)
United States1,8702,2703,570 (31st August 1978)
West Germany3606302,060 (31st March 1978)
* Total central Government liabilities