The PJ Tatler

After a Century, Britain Finally Retires Its World War One Debt -- By Borrowing More

Good thing the creditors were patient. Or dead:

Britain’s First World War debt has finally be repaid in full – more than 100 years after the outbreak of the conflict. The Government repaid some £1.9billion still owed to more than 100,000 people who held ‘War Bonds’, issued in 1917 to help fund the military effort. [Chancellor of the Exchequer] George Osborne said he could pay off the debts because he can borrow the money cheaper elsewhere.

The Government was paying 3.5 per cent in interest to the 120,000 people who bought the bonds in 1917. The Debt Management Office estimates that Britain has paid some £5.5 billion in total interest on the loans since 1917. Current low interest rates mean the Government is able to pay off the debt with new bonds which pay a much lower rate of interest.

Mr Osborne said: ‘This is a moment for Britain to be proud of. We can, at last, pay off the debts Britain incurred to fight the First World War. It is a sign of our fiscal credibility and it’s a good deal for this generation of taxpayers. It’s also another fitting way to remember that extraordinary sacrifice of the past.’

The debt repayment comes after the Government repaid £218million of debts from the First World War in October – the first time that the government paid off the war’s debts in 67 years.

Nice of him to mention the extraordinary Britain — and France, and Germany, and Belgium, and Russia — suffered during the Great War, which effectively destroyed European civilization. But at least, and at last, the stupidest, most destructive war in history is off the books.


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