Stat of the Month: Britain's Fiscal Fiasco

£1.5trn - The UK's estimated national debt by 2014-15

Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

As the Government tries to borrow its way out of recession - in order to bail out the banks and cover spiralling benefit payments - the UK's national debt has risen to almost £830bn, equivalent to nigh on 60% of national GDP. But our fiscal mess is only going to get worse: according to the Treasury's latest forecasts, debt will balloon to nearly £1.5trn by 2014. That's about 78% of GDP, the highest figure since the end of the second world war.

Indeed, some argue that the situation is even worse than this, since the current total doesn't fully account for PFI deals and public-sector pensions. And bond investors are getting spooked by the Government's apparent refusal to address the problem. Credit ratings agencies warn that a downgrade may follow unless we come up with a credible repayment plan fast.

When Labour came to power in 1997, chancellor Gordon Brown introduced a 'sustainable investment' rule: our debt should never exceed 40% of GDP. But after dropping to 29% in 2002, it has climbed ever since. So, in the decade to 2015, we'll have added about £1trn to the national debt. Prudence has left the building.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

The art of leadership: From Marcus Aurelius to Martin Luther King

Transformational, visionary, servant… enough is enough.

Lockdown stress: 12 leaders share practical coping tips

In hard times, it's far too easy for the boss to forget to look after...

Don’t just complain about uncertainty, find the tools to navigate it

Traditional in-person research methods won’t work right now, but that’s no excuse for a wait-and-see...

How well have CEOs performed during the coronavirus pandemic?

A new survey offers a glimpse into what their staff think.

Why women leaders are excelling during the coronavirus pandemic

There is a link between female leaders and successful responses to COVID-19.

Why your employees don’t speak up

Research: Half of workers don’t feel comfortable to express concerns - and it’s usually because...