§ Mr. David Atkinson
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the current year's interest payment on the National Debt, including the present loan from the IMF; and what proportion this interest represents on (a) total public expenditure and (b) on gross national product.
§ Mr. Joel Barnett
The cost of servicing the National Debt in 1977 was £4,959 million. Part of the National Debt is held in official hands, so this figure overstates the net cost to Government; on the other hand, the National Debt does not include all public debt.520W
The figures for debt interest in the public expenditure White Papers cover all payments which are a charge against taxation. The estimate for 1977–78 on this basis in Cmnd. 7049 is equivalent to 3½ per cent. of total public expenditure and 1¼ per cent. of gross national product.