Better late than never

Settling debts is noble despite it is late. War bonds raised for the ‘Great War’ almost a hundred years ago was finally paid, yesterday.

London Evening Standard:

UK debt from First World War finally repaid

Debt repaid: a poppy installation at the Tower of London to commemorate the centenary of the First World War last year (Picture: Getty)

Published: 09 March 2015 Updated: 12:44, 09 March 2015
Britain’s outstanding First World War debt has finally been repaid after the Chancellor redeemed £1.9billion from a bond.

The 3.5% War Loan was the most widely held of any UK Government bond with more than 120,000 holders, or 60% of all holdings of government gilts.

It comes as the Government looks to remove all other undated gilts in its portfolio, some of which have origins going back to the 18th century.

About 97,000 of these investors held less than £1,000 and almost 38,000 holders owned less than £100, according to the Treasury.

The 3.5% War Loan was issued in 1932 by the then-chancellor Neville Chamberlain in exchange for the 5% War Loan 1929-47, which was issued in 1917 as part of the effort to raise money to pay for the First World War.

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The Debt Management Office estimates that Britain has paid some £5.5 billion in total interest on the 5% and 3.5% war loans since 1917.

Current low interest rates mean the Government is able to refinance the debt with new bonds.

The Treasury is also looking to remove all six of the other remaining undated gilts in its portfolio, including some debt originally issued in the era of the South Sea Bubble in the 18th century.

The plan to repay the First World War debt was announced in December, when Chancellor George Osborne said: “We can, at last, pay off the debts Britain incurred to fight the First World War.

“It is a sign of our fiscal credibility and it’s a good deal for this generation of taxpayers. It’s also another fitting way to remember that extraordinary sacrifice of the past.”


Imagine the war bonds and promisories  for World War II and the two Gulf Wars. The future generation of a great nation is eternally debated for the politics of previous leaders, who defined the “Britannia shall rule the waves” maxim.

Published in: on March 10, 2015 at 13:30  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. The German philosopher (Alfred Korzybski, was it?) said that when we are born, we see and enjoy all sorts of facilities and life amenities invented, developed and improved by past generations.

    Our purpose in life should be to contribute whatever little we can to further improve the situation for future generations. Alas, wars and endless conflicts may make the British taxpayers and others pay for them endlessly.

    And the unscrupulous others not bothered one bit about what their past leaders did. Nothing is owed for actions taken in the name of the protection of democracy, they said. And that included post-World War II evil deeds, like the Bush bombing of Iraq.

    If only all the victors pay reparations for war damages to all the vanquished. The Japanese did to us but the amount was insignificant. The Americans did to the the Germans and the Japanese, but out of their self interest to see that the German and Japanese economies recover and boom again. So that they may benefit from trade with Germany and Japan, like they actually did later.

    Thank God the wasting of our resources against the communist terrorists have ceased. And now we have to waste them against the
    the seditious, the subversives and the illegal demonstrators.

  2. Do we have anything like the above? War Bonds and redemption decades, even a century, later. Yes, we are independent only 58 years now and no world war since then.

    But the undeclared war against Indonesia called Confrontation that was connected with the formation of Malaysia did drain the coffers of then Malaya. The communist insurgency did take our resources, too, during Malaya and, later, Malaysia days.

    So, let’s try to avoid situations that would get us dragged into war anywhere. Though as a small country we might be holding on to one or more of the big boys’ coattails and will inevitably be dragged should war break out.

    But try we must. The horrors of war and is consequences are always horrible and horrific.

  3. Ladies & Gentlemen, The World War II Lend-Lease debt owing by the United Kingdom to the United States and Canada was finally fully re-paid in 2006 .Vide Financial Times London. 2006

  4. I shudder at the thought of a World War III. And the debt it will cause. Maybe if it happens, no need to re-pay. As everybody will be obliterated.

    70 years no world war now. But hot spots continue to exist. Nuclear bombs continue to be built. The race to Super Power status now includes China. And possibly Japan.

    Life is interesting. Also frustrating. But let’s not be involved in war and avoid war loans re-payments. We have enough war with all kinds of anti-national elements in the country.

    Political animals and the ordinary criminals abound. The ISA. Emergency Ordinance and Restricted Residence Act repealed, thousands of criminals released from prisons 1-2 years ago have been prowling the streets, illegal firearms, killing, robbing etc on the increase.

  5. The says Greece threatens to seize property, land and businesses belonging to Germany if Angela Merkel does not agree to pay compensation for WWII occupation.

    This comes as Greece and EU reach a stand-off over negotiations on debt crisis. Greek Prime Minister says Germany owes his country war compensation. Alexis Tsipras adds Angela Merkel owes his country up to 332 billion euros. But Germany has dismissed the demands saying reparations have already been solved.

    So, the 70 years old story surfaces again in peace time. When Greece finds difficulty in paying its debts and Germany wants Greece to have discipline in running its fiscal affairs..

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