Real level of debt

The UK’s real national debt is far greater than Alex Turpie’s “more than £1 trillion in 2016/17” (Letters, 28 March). The official figure is already £1.2 trillion and is forecast to be £1.6 trillion by 2017.

But that official figure excludes, inter alia, obligations built up for state and unfunded public sector pensions; PFI and Network Rail liabilities; and the bank bail-outs.

The total, calculated by the Institute of Economic Affairs, is therefore well above £5 trillion (more than twice even the government’s so-called WGA or Whole of Government Accounts) rising to around £6 trillion by 2016/17 – proportionately £550 billion for Scotland or £200,000 per adult Scot.

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John Birkett

Horseleys Park

St Andrews