There is a grim chart on page p36 of the Budget showing national debt “on a declining path”.
Unfortunately it only goes up to 2020, so it is impossible to see exactly when the Treasury expect the debt to return to 40 per cent of national income. I’ve made my own clumsy attempt (see below) which sheds little light on the matter, other than to show that it will take a very long time indeed.
Garry Gibbon, the C4 News political editor, reckons it will take until 2028. But my expert forecasting puts it a bit later. We could be waiting till 2035 or even longer. There is, of course, the question over whether it matters at all. “It was an arbitrary number anyway,” said one unimpressed Whitehall official.