Servicing the UK's central government debt, i.e. simply paying the interest, cost £27,424,000,000 in 2006/07 and is estimated to cost £29,100,000,000 in 2007/08 (Table 1.15: 2.1MB PDF).
What I didn't manage to find was what the total National Debt was: now I have.
Public sector net debt, expressed as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), was 36.3 per cent at the end of October 2007, compared with 36.1 per cent at end of October 2006. Debt peaked at 43.8 per cent of GDP in June 1997, its highest since the mid-1980s. The debt ratio then fell steadily as public sector finances improved, reaching a low of 29.8 per cent in February 2002. Since then it has risen. The Pre-Budget forecast for the end of March 2008 is 37.6 per cent.
Net debt was £511.3 billion at the end of October, compared with £480.0 billion a year earlier. The Pre-Budget forecast for net debt at the end of March 2008 is £541 billion.
But, as Wat Tyler points out, this does not take into account the Public Sector Pension Liability (or, if it does, only a fraction of it).
Public Sector pensions—the scandal of largely unfunded public sector pensions continues (eg see this blog); in the face of pressure from their union paymasters, Labour backed off increasing the retirement age from 60 (or even below in some cases), and the total cost to taxpayers is currently put at about £1 trillion—twice the officially declared National Debt.
Truly, the Gobblin' King's prudence has put us in a horrendous position: we are, essentially, in debt to the tune of an entire year's GDP. This is, to put it mildly, not a good position to be in. If we do tip into recession next year, this scenario is only going to get worse, especially as the government are still spending money like water.
Not least on bailing out the shareholders of a certain northern bank, whose main depositors happen to be Labour voters.
Today, Darling has extended the taxpayers' guarantee to virtually all Northern Rock's borrowings: retail deposits, wholesale deposits, unsecured borrowing, secured borrowing where the security actually turns out to be insufficient, collateralised and uncollaterised derivatives, onshore and offshore. The whole kit and caboodle.
Which totals c £100bn.
Or £4,000 for every household in Britain.
(Yes, the HMT press release excludes subordinated debt, but that's only a few bill.)
So now we're formally guaranteeing a bank that remains fully owned by shareholders. It requires a breathtaking disregard for taxpayers' interests to even contemplate such a situation.
What the fuck is going on? Seriously, how long do NuLabour think that this government is going to last? They are spending money like they are just trying to empty the piggy-bank as swiftly as possible so that whoever takes over from them is utterly cunted.
In the name of fuck, Darling has effectively added another £100 billion to the National Debt! And this is a government that is already spending, on current debt figures, some £60 billion a year more than it is making in tax receipts!
Are they insane, or what?