Friday, 29 December 2006

A free country?

Well, freer than yesterday, anyway. Today, we repaid the final installment of the loans taken out by the Attlee Government just after the War. By 1950 our national debt amounted to 200% of our GDP, compared to 36% today. As the Guardian explains:

In 1945 Britain borrowed $4.34bn from the US consisting of a$3.75bn line of credit and a "lend-lease" loan facility of $586m. The following year the government agreed a $1.185bn line of credit loan from Canada. The money was primarily designed to assist in the post-war reconstruction of Britain's exhausted economy and shattered infrastructure. But the lend-lease loan related to wartime supplies already in transit from the US under President Franklin D Roosevelt's programme of the same name which began in 1941 and which ended abruptly shortly after VJ Day in 1945. Roosevelt famously said the scheme was like lending a neighbour a hosepipe to put out a fire. It marked a significant step away from America's post-first world war isolationism.

Today, the United States and Canada received final payments of $83.25m and $22.7m respectively.

We are no longer in America's debt.

1 comment:

  1. The usual paleo-Labour anti-Americanism, a cross between Old Tory snobbery and Old Labour anti-capitalism. Of course, they go together very well. Aren't Americans so frightfully nouveaux riches, David? Just like that ghastly Tony Blair, in fact.