§ Mr. Clay
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer by how much the value of income tax personal allowances has16W
the national debt, strictly defined) by some £14 billion from £171 billion at end March 1988 to £157 billion at end March 1989.
Outturn figures for net public sector debt outstanding at the end of 1988–89 will not be available until later in the year. However, details of net transactions in debt are available in the May Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin (table 7). This shows that the majority of the reduction in debt outstanding was in the form of a net repayment of British Government securities (gilts).
In 1988–89 the large PSDR meant that the Government made net purchases of gilts so as to ensure it had a broadly neutral impact on liquidity. It is unlikely that this policy will have had any significant effect on consumers' expenditure. Also, in these circumstances it is only possible for individuals to reinvest in gilts to the extent that they are purchased from existing holders. There is no information readily available on transactions of this sort.