Prime Minister David Cameron appeared to forget how much debt his government has racked up over the past five years.
In the first of the election “debates” Cameron found himself facing some tough questions from seasoned interviewer Jeremy Paxman.
Having been pushed on the increased use of food banks in Britain and the tricky subject of zero hours contracts, the prime minister seemed to be rather rattled when Paxman started to grill him on the increase in the total stock of debt over the past five years under his leadership. In fact, he seemed to forget the figure all-together.
For a party that has been stressing the credibility of its economic track record during the current parliament, the omission will be seen as something of an embarrassment.
Below is the transcript of the exchange:
Jeremy Paxman: How much money have you borrowed?
David Cameron: Well, we have cut the deficit in half as a share of GDP.
Paxman: But how much did you borrow?
Cameron: The key thing is the amount of money you borrow every year. That’s the deficit.
Paxman: Do you know what it is?
Cameron: The deficit is down by half. We have borrowed a lot of money because the deficit adds to your debt every year.
Paxman: Do you know what the actual figure is?
Cameron: You’re going to tell me, Jeremy, presumably.
Paxman: I am. A mere £500 billion.
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