asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he can state, in regard to the National Debt, the total amount borrowed by the State since the commencement of the debt, the total amount repaid up to last year, and the total added to the debt in respect of the Napoleonic wars, the Crimean war, the South African war, the European war, and other wars; and, if the debt reduction is effected at the same rate as during the 10 years ending 31st March, 1914, what is the approximate date when the pre-War debt and the post-War debt, respectively, will be discharged?
The hon. Member will find particulars of the National Debt back to 1835 in Command Paper 7994 of 1915 and 1438 of 1922. The approximate additions to the nominal amount of the National Debt were £622 million for the Napoleonic wars; £34 million for the Crimean war; £150 millions for the South African war. At the end of March, 1920, the debt had been increased by £7,170 millions over the pre-War figure. Since then it has been effectively reduced by over £300 millions, though conversions have altered the resulting nominal total. In the 10 years prior to 31st March, 1914, debt was reduced at a rate equivalent to nearly 1 per cent, per annum. A ½ per cent, sinking fund would extinguish the present total debt in about 50 years.