The figure is more than the amount the Government spends annually on defence and housing combined and equivalent to approximately 2.5 per cent of the country’s GDP.
In the wake of the financial crisis in 2000 a whole generation has been burdened with a life of crippling national debt – the amount the Government needs to pay holders of government bonds, which are issued to finance public spending.
That figure is for the interest payments alone, never mind the actual national debt itself which now stands at £1.94 trillion – equivalent to £53,588 for every single taxpayer in the UK.
The situation is only set to get worse with the independent body the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasting that in the next financial year the debt interest payments is set to rise to £55bn.
And there is further bad news on the horizon with figures out today showing the UK’s inflation rate has remained constant at a five-year high of 3 per cent, although there are some worrying underlying trends as food inflation was continuing to rise and has now reached 4.1 per cent – its fastest rate rise since 2013.
Inflationary pressures in the economy will add to calls to Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, to once again raise interest rates in a bid to cool off the economy but any rise in interest rates will increase the national debt payments as the cost of borrowing rises.
John O’Connell, chief executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance told Express.co.uk: “The Government’s addiction to overspending has been out of control for far too long.
“The scale of the debt is now so great that almost £1 billion a week will have to be spent on interest payments alone this year. That’s money that could have gone on new hospitals, or scraping beer duty and inheritance tax.
“Philip Hammond must ensure that his budget puts Britain back on the path to sound finances.”
Economists at the CBI said though they thought inflation would very likely ease in the coming months.
In a statement on Twitter, they said: “CPI inflation remained unchanged at 3 per cent in October, against consensus expectations of a small rise. We expect inflation to ease in the coming months, as the feed-through from sterling’s past decline fades.”
The Resolution Foundation said that inflationary pressures were impacting the poorest families as the cost of essential items – such as food – were rising.
The foundation’s research and policy analyst Stephen Clarke said: “The rising price of essentials hits lower income households harder.
“The result is that inflation over past 6 months higher for lower-income households, richer households felt the squeeze last winter.”
Yael Selfin, chief economist at KPMG said: “With monthly inflation gradually moderating, households will be relieved that the UK may have now reached the peak in year-on-year price rises.
“However, the overall figures mask significant increases in the price of basic necessities such as fruit and vegetables, which are most likely to hit those already struggling to cope with the squeeze on real incomes due to the high inflation.”
A Treasury spokesman said: “We understand that people are concerned about increases in everyday costs. That’s why we have cut taxes and introduced the National Living Wage, which has lifted the wages of the lowest paid by over 6% per cent above inflation.
“It’s also why we are bringing in an energy cap to help people with the cost of household bills.”
It comes as Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond prepares for the Autumn Budget – to be declared on Wednesday November 22.