Better Late Than Never: Britain to Repay WWI Debt

It still owes WWI investors some $3.2B
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 31, 2014 10:01 AM CDT
Better Late Than Never: Britain to Repay WWI Debt
Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham, England, on Sept. 29, 2014.   (AP Photo/PA, Stefan Rousseau)

Britain is beginning to pay back some of the $3.2 billion it borrowed to help pay for World War I. The government plans to redeem some national war bonds (issued in 1917) in February, when it refinances $348 million of debt issued as far back as the 18th century. As the AP explains, the debts were consolidated in 1927 into a single bond paying 4% annual interest, but the bond has no maturity date, so Britain's treasury wasn't required to repay the principal as long as it made regular interest payments. As such, the Independent notes there hasn't been much incentive to settle the debt: The British government has paid roughly $2 billion in interest to date. (Read more Britain stories.)

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