§ Mr. Hordern
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, from international sources available to him, what is the equivalent proportion of gross domestic product made up by outstanding Government funds in the United Kingdom, United States of America, West Germany, France and Canada.
§ Mr. Biffen
The information is set out in the table below for 1977, the latest year for which data for all the countries are available. There is no internationally agreed definition of Government debt, and national definitions vary widely. They are affected by the different administrative arrangements in each country, in particular by differences in the methods of financing local authorities and public trading enterprises and by the extent to which Governments' holdings of their own debts are included. Comparisons between countries therefore require great caution.
Central Government outstanding debt at end-1977 as a percentage of gross domestic product in 1977 Per cent. United Kingdom* 53 United States of America 30 West Germany 13 France 8 Canada 23 * Outstanding debt at 31 March 1978.
The table is based, for the United Kingdom, on central Government debt in nominal terms, as published in Financial 683W Statistics,February 1979, Supplementary Table C. For the other countries, the table is based on figures for Government debt given in International Financial Statistics, June 1979, published by the IMF, which are derived from various national publications.
For GDP, the table is based on figures at current market prices according to the United Nations System of National Accounts definitions given in National Accounts of OECD Countries 1952–1977, published by the OECD.