Every little helps: Dead Brits leave George Osborne 54,000 in their wills to pay off national debt (only 999,999,946,000 to go)
Chancellor forced to admit in his Autumn Statement that he will not meet his target to get debt under control by 2015New figures show that in first year of the coalition generous members of the public bequeathed 54,634.46 to pay down debtTreasury insists it appreciates the help but only covers 0.0000054% of debt
16:37 GMT, 7 December 2012
Chancellor George Osborne was forced to admit he will miss his target for getting debt under control by 2015, but some generous people are doing their bit by leaving money in their will for the public finances
Dead Britons have left George Osborne 54,000 to help pay off the ballooning national debt from beyond the grave.
The Treasury has revealed how members of the public have change their wills to insist some of their savings should be used to assist the country’s finances.
But with the debt mountain topping 1trillion and rising, officials admit the bequests in 2010-11 are a drop in the ocean, accounting for 0.0000054 per cent of the total bill.
The Chancellor was forced to admit this week that he will miss his target to get the debt mountain under control by the next election.
Low growth and higher-than-expected borrowing means the age of austerity will now stretch until 2018, when official figures show the national debt will stand at more than 1.4trillion.
Now the Treasury has revealed how some people are doing their bit to clear the nation’s debts.
Treasury minister Sajid Javid said that in 2010-11 members of the public gave more than 1million to the government as a gift to the nation, almost all left in wills.
And 54,634.36 was specifically set aside ‘for the reduction of the national debt’. It is not known exactly how many people left money in their will, but it is thought it could be dozens.
It is the first time details of donations to Mr Osborne’s Treasury have been revealed.
In the first decade of this century, the Treasury received donations of more than 7million from people wanting to help pay off the nation’s debts.
It included a 2million anonymous donation in 2000-01 and 1 in tooth fairy money by six-year-old Niamh Riley from Salford.
In 2007-08, the Treasury received 864,255 towards the debt but the following year just 180 was donated.
The US Government has been publicly asking for help with its national debt for half a century.
In the first year of the coalition, the Treasury received bequests worth 54,634.36 for the reduction of the national debt
But the Treasury stressed it was not actively encouraging Britons to follow suit.
A spokesman said: ‘We are not talking about huge sums here. The government’s priority is putting the public finances and public spending on a sustainable path.’
Mr Javid revealed the paltry sum donated in 2010-11 in a parliamentary answer.
He said: ‘A total of 1,083,537.55 was received by the Government as gifts to the nation in the financial year 2010-11.
‘Of this at least 1,081,311.84 was received from the estates of deceased persons, and 54,634.36 was received as bequests for the reduction of the national debt.’
Public sector debt as a proportion of GDP is not expected to start falling until 2016-17, a year later than Mr Osborne planned
This table shows how the Office for Budget Responsibility changed its debt forecasts this month, painting a bleaker picture than in March
He was responding to Labour frontbencher Gavin Shuker who asked about gifts made to the Government from the estate of people who had died and other payments made to the Government on a voluntary basis.
Mr Shuker told MailOnline: ‘This Tory-led government is going to add more to the national debt in five years than Labour did in thirteen.
‘It's incredibly generous of these people to donate funds to clearing the national debt. Unfortunately the figure they gave was borrowed by George Osborne every ten seconds.
‘We're either going to need a lot more publicly spirited people giving their money away – or a proper plan for jobs and growth.’
In a key fiscal target, Mr Osborne said that by 2015-16, government debt as a proportion of the entire economy (GDP) would start falling.
But the OBR said that net debt will be 74.7 per cent of GDP this year, then 76.8 per cent next year and 79 per cent in 2014-15 and 79.9 the following year. It will not fall until 2016-17 when it is forecast to drop to 79.2 per cent in 2016-17 and 77.3 per cent in 2017-18.
Mr Osborne told the Commons: ‘In short, the tougher economic conditions mean that while our deficit is forecast to go on falling, instead of taking three years to get our debt falling, it’s going to take four.’