Thanks to Liberal Demolition for this:
"During yesterday’s budget George Osborne continued to peddle the myth that the UK economy is in an extraordinary mess with an extraordinary level of debt.
Today he told the Evening Standard that “having inherited from Labour the largest budget deficit in Europe bar Ireland, the new Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition has been forced to take drastic action”.
The reality is that as a result of the prudent early decisions of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown we entered the recession with the second lowest level of debt of any of the G7 countries. One of Labour’s key decisions was to use the £20 billion plus windfall from the G3 auction (the mobile phone spectrum) for debt repayments.
The OECD figures for 2010 show that the UK’s general government net financial liabilities as a percentage of GDP was 53.5%. Lower than the Euro zone average of 59.5%.
Other EU countries which have higher levels of debt are:
Italy – 104.1%
Greece – 97.8%
Belgium – 83.3%
Portugal – 64.3%
Hungary – 60.1%
France – 57.2%
Labour put the country on a steady footing to weather the recession. Because of this the budget deficit could have been reduced at a steady pace, without the risk to future growth and without the raid on the most vulnerable in our society. Instead the Coalition has opted to slash public services and hike up taxes in a direct attack on hard working families in this country."