Interesting choiice of date - would you expect the ratio to be high or low following / during a recession....? Again an interesting choice of date - the government had got the economy into a good shape and debt was on the decrease. The Government's spending plans reduced debt to under 30% of GDP in the following years, before Labour went on their spending spree.... So effectively the Labour government increased debt from 30% to 36% following a period of record growth and tax receipts. Of course, for a direct comparison with the earlier numbers you'd need to adjust for the money hidden off balance sheet via PFI etc. That would get you to a number closer to 50% Best not to talk about the increase in unfunded public sector pension liabilities over the period - that's an extra few hundred billion.... Indeed - who'd have thought that during a recession debt would goes up as tax receipts go down and hence the economy moves into deficit. If only we'd have saved some money during the boom, rather than spent it, borrowed some more then spent that so borrowed some more off balance sheet....etc As you can see from (your) spending data above - Despite record growth (fuelled by cheap credit which was supplied by the banks and used and abused by the public) and record tax income, the Labour government effectively increased debt from 30% of GDP to 50% of GDP. That's what has caused our problem, and hence the need for public sector cuts. When the inevitable recession came - caused by the banks (due to individuals, countries and companies borrowing more than they could afford) - the country was poorly placed to deal with it.