Pre-Budget statement: Election war chest hits £16.6bn

Brown said the 2000/01 figure would be followed by surpluses of £16bn, 14bn, £8bn and £8bn in the following years.

And he said they would contribute to a fall in public sector net debt as a share of GDP from 44% in 1997 to 30% and ‘remain there in future years’.

‘Our approach will reverse the vicious cycle of the 80s,’ he told MPs.

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