HC Deb 19 July 1977 vol 935 cc473-4W
Mr. Knox

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the present total of the National Debt; and, from information available from international sources, how this compares, per capita, with the equivalent figures for the other member countries of the European Economic Community.

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 have 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