Re: Ha.... @AC
The deficit during the Thatcher years was never greater than £12.2bn. The surplus peaked at £4.2bn. The 92/93 recession took that to almost £51bn. By the time Labour took office the Conservatives had reduced it to less than £30bn.
Labour famously promised to stick to the Conservatives' spending plans for their first two years in office and ended those with a £0.7bn surplus. That continued to grow and peaked at a £16.7bn surplus, before going the other way and turning into a £42.6bn deficit in 2005. The deficit was then reducing, down to £32.2bn in 2006, when the financial crisis hit.
Labour left office with a £156.3bn deficit. More than triple the 1993 deficit.
The deficit has reduced but for the 2013 fiscal year it was still £107.7bn. I'm unable to get numbers for what proportion of that is debt repayment (i.e. unambiguously inherited).
Compared to our major trading partners: the overall shape of the graph is basically identical to that of the US, and both are better than those for France (which doesn't seem to have run a surplus since the '70s, before the current relevant minister had been born). Italy also remains in deficit but — even proportionally to GDP — much less so. Though it seems to have growing debt so that may change as and when loans mature.
Germany seems to have returned to surplus in 2012, but that was the first in 45 years. Last year its surplus was the equivalent of around £13bn.