§ Mr. Joel Barnett
The National Debt is calculated only as at 31st March each year; at 31st March 1977 the nominal value is provisionally estimated to have been £66,854 million. There is no internationally agreed definition of national debt. The accompanying figures give the nominal value of central Government debt per head at 31st March 1976 and have474W been derived from the EEC publication "Eurostat; General Statistics 1977–2" and from national statistical publications for the three new member countries. These figures—which have been converted to sterling on the basis of official or market rates of exchange, which do not necessarily reflect relative purchasing powers of the currencies concerned—are further affected by differences in the methods of financing local authorities and public trading enterprises; by the inclusion of Governments' holdings of their own debt; and by inclusion or otherwise of Government-controlled credit institutions. Comparisons between countries therefore require great caution.
Central Government Debt per head, 31st March 1976 £ Belgium 880 Denmark 190 France 190 West Germany 410 Ireland (at 31st Dec., 1976) 1,140 Italy 290 Luxembourg 410 Netherlands 450 United Kingdom 1,010