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Dr Storkey’s economics

04 January 2012


From Mr Robert Ashdown

Sir, — What a strange article by Dr Alan Storkey (Comment, 23 December)!

Let us suppose that I win the lottery and buy a cottage in France. This would not create an “external debt” that the French owed me. Why then should the fact that overseas investors have bought assets in the UK form part of “a huge external debt” that we owe them? Even if there were such a huge external debt, it would be more usual to net it off against the vast assets that UK investors own overseas.

I am not at all sure that the Treasury has said that “Sovereign debt is the overriding problem,” but I am sure that sovereign debt and national debt are two different things, and I suspect that he may be confusing them. It is difficult to believe that either can really be a problem for the UK at the moment (despite what some political agendas may wish us to believe), when UK government interest rates are at an all-time low.

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