The reality is that while people have argued that debt had to be cut and public sector borrowing reduced, this is not true. The government started the crisis with nearly the lowest public debt to gross domestic product ratio in its history. The debt ratio fell from 43% in 1997 to 36.7% before the banking crisis.
Under the impact of the crisis and the banking rescue, it rose to just over 50% at the time of the 2010 election. Both of these figures were historically, and internationally, low. In fact they were close to the lowest UK debt levels in 300 years.
Debt was not and is not a problem. Despite this the coalition set out to cut the debt.
In this they have also failed – the Office of Budget Responsibility predicts that debt will rise to 81.1% of GDP by 2015/16 – austerity policies have in fact increased the public debt.