LONDON (AFP) – Britain is to pay back all of its World War I debts, worth some £1.9 billion (2.4 billion euros, US$3 billion), through a refinancing deal involving the issue of new bonds, finance minister George Osborne said Wednesday.
It will also repay bonds dating as far back as the 18th century when a massive speculative crash known as the South Sea Bubble occurred in 1720, leaving behind significant national debts.
The government will capitalise on current very low interest rates to refinance the debts.
“This is a moment for Britain to be proud of,” Osborne said.
“We can, at last, pay off the debts Britain in-curred 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 extra-ordinary sacrifice of the past.”