Just how big is the deficit?


After a decade of Gordon Brown spouting billions everywhere, it hardly seems like a big amount any more. But ten billion here, another twenty billion there, and before long it starts adding up to serious money.

To put it in context, the National Debt pretty much started with the Napoleonic War, about 200 years ago. From then to 2000, the total cumulative debt run up by all the governments over that period came to just over £300 billion.

Darling is proposing to borrow that much, not in 200 years but in just 20 months.