Frightening statistics from today's budget for 2009 reveal the extent of Brown's debt mountain. The revised borrowing figures for the public sector between the years 2008-09 to 2013-014 exceed the combined real terms (RPI-adjusted) borrowing required to defeat Napoleon (1793-1815), the Kaiser (1914-1918) and Hitler (1939-1945). The TPA understands that although these three foes are now dead, it is not yet clear that we will beat the recession.
Historical debt statistics taken from British Historical Statistics by BR Mitchell, up rated from 1816, 1919 and 1946 to end of 2008 prices using http://www.measuringworth.com/ppoweruk/ and ONS RPI statistics (most recent available). Public sector net borrowing statistics taken from the Budget Report 2009, Table C4.
Historic data is uprated using RPI figures because this provides historical consistency in comparing the real cost of debt. RPI is the measure of inflation the public understands best and is the only statistic available for the entire period in question. Governments spend and borrow in pounds sterling, not percentage points of GDP.