Similarly with the overall debt (simply put, all the borrowings over the years added up). It’s risen – to 99.7% of the size of the economy as measured by gross domestic product, its highest on that measure since 1961. But then you look further back and realise public debt was larger than the size of the economy for 40 of the last 100 years. Given that the pandemic has put the economy on something like a war footing, it’s worth noting that after World War Two, it was 2.5 times the size. The reaction of the government then was not to cut spending, but to embark on the biggest expansion of state spending in history. Sixteen years later, in 1961, prosperity was secure, taxes rolled in and both borrowing and debt dropped rapidly.