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The National Debt


The National Debt is the accumulated debt built up by the government over a number of years that has not yet been repaid (i.e. the debt issued to finance government spending has not yet "matured" - been paid back to holders of the debt).


One way of measuring the scale of Government debt is by looking at the debt - to - GDP ratio. The trend in this for the UK economy and also the Euroland economies is shown in the chart below



In recent years the UK economy has enjoyed a period of sustained and fairly strong economic growth. This has improved the government's own finances and lead to a gradual decline in the debt-to-GDP ratio. In 1996 the figure stood at 55%.  By the end of 2000, this is forecast to have dipped to 51%. This is comfortably within the EU Maastricht Convergence Criteria target of a gross government debt / GDP ratio of 60%.





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