Tuesday 5 May 2015

A quick note about national debts

One of the issues that has been doing the rounds in the run up to Thursday's general election is the matter of our national debt. This is apparently very, very important if you listen to how the Conservatives are building it up.

The thing is that as important as national debt it and that it affects the cost of things and all sorts of other bits of economics, paying it off isn't as important in the immediate term as is being advertised. Let me give two examples of debts owed by the government.

First there's Lend-Lease, a loan agreed in 1941 to supply war materiel made in the United States to us, the Free French, China and later other allies. The basic sense of it was we got our planes and tanks for free in the short term and paid off the debt after the war. The UK paid of its share of Lend-Lease in 2006.

What's more, three months ago George Osborne signed off on a payment to settle part of a debt the government has been paying off since 1710.

As I said at the top of this post: national debt is an important issue with a lot of effects but don't be fooled into thinking its going to bankrupt the nation any time soon. These things are calculated to be paid off in terms longer (sometimes far longer) than a human lifetime.

And people wonder why I do so much reading around political issues instead of just listening to what politicians say on television. 

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