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Public Sector Debt

Volume 505: debated on Tuesday 2 February 2010

11. What estimate he has made of the peak amount of future public sector debt; and when he expects that peak to be reached. (314438)

As set out in the pre-Budget report, public sector net debt is forecast to peak at 77.7 per cent. of GDP in 2014-15. Projections beyond that are consistent with debt falling as a share of GDP in 2015-16. Although the UK’s public debt is rising in response to the recent shocks, it will remain in line with that of other advanced economies.

That means that the national debt will reach £1.4 trillion. Is the Minister aware that if we repaid debt at the rate of £1 every second, we could repay £1 million in 12 days, but that it would take 44,000 years to repay the total debt to which he has alluded? Does that not strengthen the case for starting early?

As has been made very clear, we want to take action to curb the deficit and reduce debt. We have set out plans to halve the deficit over four years. The right hon. Gentleman should be aware that our figures for net debt compare pretty much with those of France and Germany and with the G7 average this year, not according to the Government’s figures, but according to the International Monetary Fund’s figures. I am sure he will welcome that.