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A myth about government debt bites the dust

Andy McSmith
twitter 300x225 A myth about government debt bites the dust

The Twitter logo (Getty Images)

A Twitter spat involving the vice chairman of the Conservative Party, Michael Fabricant, has come and gone, with a modern myth about the scale of UK government debt as its main casualty.

The spat began when Fabricant tweeted that the UK’s debt to GDP ratio has almost reached World War II levels. “Total war achieved the same debt ratio as total incompetence achieved in 2000’s by Gordon,” he claimed.

This drew a riposte from the director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, Jonathan Portes, who produced a graph based on treasury figures which showed that public debt was 230 per cent of GDP after the war. It is now around 75 per cent.

The spat got personal with Portes persisting demanding a retraction and Fabricant calling him a troll but in the end it was the politician who gracefully pulled up the white flag. “Lesson learned. NEVER take a ‘fact’ from a colleague at face value. I withdraw the remark on Debt to GDP ratio. Apologies to all,” Fabricant tweeted.

Which suggests that maybe the fuss about government debt is overblown.

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