Fraser Nelson

The debt counter is ticking

The debt counter is ticking
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Sky News's coverage of the recession has today taken on a powerful new dimension: a " debt counter", starting today, counting in real time how much extra debt Gordon Brown is saddling the public with during the financial year 2009/10. It started at zero at 7am and it's rising at £4,800 a second as per today's report from the IFS. This will drive home - in stark, simple terms - a major facet of this recession: the deferred cost to the British public when government refuses to cut spending.

I suspect that Brown will be hurling his slippers at the TV screen because he is rather depending on national debt being an abstract concept, something ending in -illion that people don't quite understand. Sky is telling its viewers straight that this recession (and this government) is running up the mother of all bills that we (and our children) will have to pay.

I'd quite like them to alternate this as they do in the US with "your family share" - ie, the full government debt (not just this year's deficit), divided by the number of families in Britain. It's something like £70,000, a hidden second mortgage. But with at least five more years of rising national debt, there's plenty of time to play around with the format.

Written byFraser Nelson

Fraser Nelson is the editor of The Spectator. He is also a columnist with The Daily Telegraph, a member of the advisory board of the Centre for Social Justice and the Centre for Policy Studies.

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